NBA Previews Continued – East (Southeast)

With the regular season less than a week away, my mental alarm clock went off for the third time, but this time I didn’t hit snooze.  The prophecy said, “Bystradamus must finish his 2009-2010 NBA previews!”  So, on with the show

EAST – Southeast

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks unveiled their “ATL” jerseys, and with it, signed rappers T.I. & Big Boi from Outkast to replace Bibby &

New "ATL" uni's, same "ATL" squad

New "ATL" uni's, same "ATL" squad

Johnson as the starting back court.  Atlanta is a loaded with crazy, athletic talent, and they are at their best when they utilize it in a high-energy, fast-paced game.  Coach Don Nelson would love this team.  Although they did a complete no-show against the Cavs in the post-season last time around, look for them to return to the playoffs this season and give those  upper-echelon teams in the East a real run for their money.  Ultimately, Atlanta is missing that one component that will take them from upstart team, to legitimate contender.  Adding Jamal Crawford is a nice touch, but won’t do it.  This team is pretty fun to watch nonetheless, and Al Horford is on my “Most Improved” list.

I have Atlanta making the playoffs with home court in the 1st round again this season –

Charlotte Bobcats

I’m not sure where the Bobcats are heading, or looking to accomplish with that Okafor/Chandler trade, but it doesn’t look positive for me.  Coach Larry Brown is a basketball genius, he’s the equivalent to the hardwood version of Albert Einstein, but even he can’t make E=mc2 out of this team.  How Tyson Chandler is supposed to produce without Chris Paul feeding him is going to be interesting to see … I like Felton and Augustin in the back court.  I like Gerald Wallace’s versatility on both ends.  I think Diaw’s good.  I really like Raja Bell’s overall game and defensive intensity, unfortunately he’ll be missing quite a few games due to injury which sets the Bobcats back even more … but, all these pieces don’t make a puzzle for me.  I think they’re heading towards another mediocre season.

Miami Heat

Hey D-Wade, I'm really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but LeBron James had the best season in 2008-2009!

Hey D-Wade, I'm really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but LeBron James had the best season in 2008-2009!

There’s only so much one man can do, and to do it again?  If there was no such thing as a LeBron James, D-Wade would have easily taken home the MVP trophy last year.  He did it all for the Heat:  scored, grabbed boards, dished, got steals, blocked shots, sold concessions, ushered people to their seats, was the PA announcer – I mean, he did it all.  How did they repay him?  By not improving the team one bit.  Safe to say this will be the last you’ll see of Wade in a Heat uniform.  Enjoy this season South Beach, Florida, because after this, it’s the bottom for you.  You take Wade out of the equation, and this team resembles the Charlotte Bobcats, if lucky.  And watching Wade do what he did last year, it looked exhausting for him, I thank him, because he solely won my fantasy league for me, but I don’t know if he can repeat it.  Does he have that kind of determination?  And how serious is this team about basketball?  Take a look at their roster link for their official website … I think they’re more concerned about auditioning for “Project Runway.

The Heat (sadly) miss the playoffs this season, that means less Wade to see 😦

Orlando Magic

Superman, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis & Vinsanity!  That’s a great start.  Now solid role players in Gortat, Brandon

Is Superman kissing his return trip to the Finals goodbye?

Is Superman kissing his return trip to the Finals goodbye?

Bass, Pietrus and newly acquired Matt Barnes to name a few, and this team is going somewhere!  People don’t realize how close Orlando came to defeating the Lakers and winning the title last June.  Flashback:  Courtney Lee hits that alley-oop lay-up off that brilliant in bounds play with .02 seconds left in regulation of Game 2, and Jameer Nelson doesn’t let Derek Fisher step into a rhythm 3 in Game 4, and the Magic are up 3-1.  This team is “for real” and they’ve somewhat improved since last season, but so have the Celtics and Cavs.  I like everything the Magic has done since falling short in the Finals last season, from who they acquired all the way up to their 8-0 pre-season.  They’ll most likely hold the 3 spot again in the East, and in order to return to the “big stage” they’ll have to re-match with either or both the aforementioned Celtics & Cavs.  This is where they’ll miss Hedo.  Out of all the upgrades this team has done with their roster, you can’t replace Air Turkey with the former Air Canada.  It will show up during money time.

Magic win the Southeast division and hold the 3 spot.

Washington Wizards

So you have the “Big 3”, that’s a given.  Hopefully Agent Zero is fully recovered

Agent Zero is gonna try and get back into the groove this year!

Agent Zero is gonna try and get back into the groove this year!

and can get back to being the electrifying player we once remembered.  Unfortunately for the Wizards, they need the Big 3 to all be healthy, and Jamison will miss a chunk of the season with a shoulder injury.  I like the new additions:  Mike Miller, Randy Foye and most importantly Fabricio Oberto, and no, that’s not a joke – Oberto is “most importantly“.  Plus they’re coached by one of the best to do it in the regular season in Flip Saunders, but I say they fall short of the second season.  They’ll barely get beat out by Indiana for the final spot, and to be honest, I can’t explain why I think this … On paper, Washington looks like a team to contend with, but from what I’ve seen from all the moving parts, it’s not enough to make the engine run through the long hall.

So with that said and done, the East is now a wrap – below is my projected playoff positioning for the conference:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Orlando Magic
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Chicago Bulls
  6. Philadelphia 76ers
  7. Toronto Raptors
  8. Indiana Pacers

5 responses to “NBA Previews Continued – East (Southeast)

  1. I totally agree with your standings and think that yuo are on point with everything stated. I like the picture of Arenas, “snapping his fingers.” HA! Also, the blurb about Wade ushering people to his seat and being at the concession stand. Anywho, why isn’t there any mention of the coach for the Miami Heat, he’s filipino. LoL!

  2. This division looks the same as last year. Not much moved around except insert Carter for Hedo… I’ve been a closet Hawks fan for a little while, and hope they do take a step forward this year in challenging a top team. I think the Wizards should be much better assuming they stay healthy. They already aren’t as Jamison is already hurt but oh well… If your going to do the West, you can use some of my most recent post on my dubs!

  3. sportsguy

    I’m ‘not sold’ on the Heat and I’ve still got misgivings on whether or not Michael Beasley has got his head screwed on straight , as of yet.

    Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………

  4. And with all the hype over the wildcat offense , here’s my take on it all.

    When Is The Wildcat Offense Not A Wildcat At All ? Pardon Me But You’ve Been Punk’d ………. !

    Alan Parkins

    For me the wildcat shows the real deficiencies of a team at the NFL level, as it’s merely a gimmick and not much else.
    If anything it shows something of a lack of creativity offensively.
    Alan Parkins

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