The Southeast is a division without that “Wow Factor”. The only team that brings any excitement happens to be the defending champions. Outside of the Miami Heat, you basically have mediocrity. With the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic losing their superstars, the Heat stands alone in the Southeast.

Let’s look into what makes this division tick shall we?

Atlanta Hawks- Head Coach Larry Drew

  • 2011-2012 record: 40-26 (5th seed)
  • Key additions: Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, Lou Williams
  • Draft picks: Mike Scott and John Jenkins
  • Key losses: Joe Johnson

The Hawks needed to fill the void of the loss of Joe Johnson. Josh Smith will have to man up big time this season. DeShawn Stevenson, Devin Harris, Lou Williams, Anthony Morrow and Kyle Korver are good additions. Atlanta will look for Al Horford to come back strong from injury. Defense will be a challenge for the Hawks but they are still a good enough team to finished second behind the Miami Heat in the division.

Charlotte Bobcats- Head Coach Mike Dunlap

  • 2011-2012 record: 7-59
  • Key additions: Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood and Ramon Sessions
  • Draft picks: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh Owens and Jeff Taylor
  • Key losses: Corey Maggette and D.J. Augustin

Last season the Charlotte Bobcats were arguably the worst team in NBA history. They finished the season losing 23 games in a row. This season will be another rough one for Charlotte fans. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s athleticism is “Must See TV”. This kid can flat-out ball. Unfortunately for  Charlotte, they will end its season looking forward to another NBA draft  lottery.

Miami Heat- Head Coach Erik Spoelstra

  • 2011-2012 record: 46-20 (2nd seed NBA Champions)
  • Key additions: Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis
  • Draft picks: Justin Hamilton and Jarvis Varnado
  • Key losses: None

There’s no question what team will win this division. The Miami Heat, led by reigning MVP LeBron James, are the team to beat in the NBA. They look to be the first team to repeat as champions since the Los Angeles Lakers did it in 2009 and 2010. And why shouldn’t they repeat? The team is still intact plus they added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to their arsenal. With Shane Battier in the mix, the Heat have a triple threat from the wing. And that will make life so much easier for Dwayne Wade. The Heat are sound defensively. Their only weakness is the lack of a true big man. It was good enough last season and might just work this season. It will be fun watching the Heat this season as they deal with the pressure of the other NBA teams trying to take their crown. I think they can handle it.

Orlando Magic- Head Coach Jacque Vaughn

  • 2011-2012 record: 37-29
  • Key additions: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington and Josh McRoberts
  • Draft picks: Moe Harkless, Chris Johnson, DeQuan Jones, Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn
  • Key losses: Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson, Head coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith

The Orlando Magic once again faced De Ja Vu as they lost another franchise player to the Los Angeles Lakers. Losing  Dwight Howard basically for nothing is a huge embarrassment to a franchise that has had its share of embarrassing moments. Remember Shaq? How about the 1995 NBA Finals? Al Harrington and Arron Affalo will try to fill the void of not having Howard but replacing a player of D12’s caliber is almost impossible. Orlando won’t be terrible but they aren’t playoff ready either. Look for the Magic to have a sub-500 season.

Washington Wizards- Head Coach Randy Wittman

  • 2011-2012 record: 20-46
  • Key additions: Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Earl Barron, Brian Cook, Jannero Pargo, A.J. Price, Shavlik Randolph and Martell Webster
  • Draft picks: Bradley Beal and Steven Gray
  • Key losses: Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche

The Washington Wizards have a lot of talent but they lack the discipline to be consistent throughout an entire season. For example, John Wall shows signs of greatness then fades as the season progress. Washington did solidify its paint presence this offseason, when they acquired Emeka Okafor. He is the perfect player to work alongside Nene. Trevor Ariza will bring a lot of energy, defensively and on offensive. Rookie Bradley Beal will be a good player but what type of leadership can the organization provide him? The Wizards are rebuilding and hopefully they can add more wins this season.

By Keith Madyun

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