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NBA Division Predictions – Southeast

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As futile as it generally is to crystal ball the NBA season in September, I’ll be putting my “predictor” hat on to summarize how I believe each division will end up for season 2010/11. The biggest issue with making these predictions is obviously injuries and trades but it’s always fun to put your NBA beliefs to the test.

As much as everyone seems to believe that Miami will run away with this division, I’m not entirely convinced. This could well be the most competitive divisions in the NBA this season, however it really depends on how quickly Miami can reach people’s expectations, if at all. Orlando won’t be in a hurry to relinquish their throne, while Atlanta and Charlotte are again trying to take a leap into the elite this season. The Southeast is rounded out by Washington who won’t be causing anyone too much trouble this year but they certainly won’t be the worst team in the League.

In ranking these teams I am actually finding it hard to separate positions 2,3 and 4 for some reason, but in the name of making a call I now present my Southeast Division final standings.

  1. Miami Heat
  2. Orlando Magic
  3. Charlotte Bobcats
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Washington Wizards

The biggest “what the?” from readers will probably come from my selection of Atlanta at 4th. The fact of the matter is, the Hawks didn’t improve over the off-season. As the dust settles and the new season starts, the Atlanta Hawks appear to have grossly overpaid Joe Johnson along with adding Josh Powell and Etan Thomas. Wow, that’s it from a team who a lot of people thought could take out the Orlando Magic in last season’s Playoffs. I’m still perplexed as to what made the Hawks think Joe Johnson was worth $16m per year. It must have been one hell of an interview.

I place Orlando in second but I’m not sure their mojo will be completely in tact. Surely there is no doubt that they have tried to shop Vince Carter as that experiment really didn’t work last season regardless of their Conference Finals finish. As some of you may know, I still think they are soft and lack a killer instinct. The Magic may end up being lucky to finish in the East’s top 4 this season with the improvements some other teams have made.

This move is rumored to be what got Joe Johnson his contract this off-season.

And then there’s the Charlotte Bobcats who might compete for a 5th or even 4th Playoff seeding this year if they can take the step they believe they can. Their Management sure has high hopes for them and something tells me they’ll do well. The emergence of Gerald Henderson has the potential to be fun to watch, along with the rough and ready play of Gerald Wallace. While they’re not going to trouble anyone for the title, the Bobcats certainly do have a 2007 Phoenix Suns element about them. Fun to watch while not being a title threat.

But let’s call a spade a spade, it’s Miami’s division to lose.

With the well-publicised additions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James, the Heat have built somewhat of a “super team” in Miami. But it’s more about the “other” new Heat players such as Mike Miller, Eddie House, Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. If these guys can gel with Miami mainstays Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony and most importantly Dwyane Wade then the sky is truly the limit for this group. I’m certainly not going to predict a 70-win season for Miami but they really should take out the Southeast Division title.

That’s the Southeast covered, stay tuned for the Northwest Division coming soon.

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