The NBA Southeast division is the home to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. It will be tough for other four teams in the division to overtake Miami, but lets preview each team in the Southeast.
Last season: 21-61 (Finished 14th in the Eastern Conference)
Free Agent Signings: C Cody Zeller (drafted 4th in the 2013 NBA draft) and PF/C Al Jefferson
Free Agent Losses: None of significance
The biggest off season news for the Charlotte Bobcats is the announcement of the team changing its nickname to the Hornets starting in the 2014-2015 season. As far as the team on the court, they are still a ways away from becoming a playoff team.
Many experts and fans thought the Bobcats overpaid for Jefferson. The team signed him to an eyebrow raising three-year $40.5 million contract. No one will question can Jefferson bring an offensive post presence to the Bobcats. It is his inability to play defense that's the problem. I know you're the Bobcats, but when you give a play 40.5 million dollars over three years, you have to expect all-star production
When the Bobcats drafted Zeller it blew my mind. With a player like Alex Len (who was drafted a pick after Zeller at number five), who has a lot more upside, I'm not sure I like the pick. It will be interesting to see if the development of Zeller next to Jefferson.
The Bobcats did do one thing right this off season and that's re-signing G/F Gerald Henderson to a three-year deal worth $18 million.
Last Season: 44-38 (Finished 6th in the Eastern Conference)
Free Agent Signings: C Elton Brand, PF Paul Millsap,
Free Agent Losses: PF Josh Smith, PG Devin Harris, , Zaza Pachulia, DeShawn Stevenson, Devin Harris, Dahntay Jones
Last season, the Atlanta Hawks reached the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. It may be a struggle to make it a seventh straight appearance .
The Hawks had a lot of changes in the off-season, must notably at head coach. Former San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer replaces former coach Larry Drew.
The Hawks still have the of talent to make a playoff push with players like Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Lou Williams. The question I have is, can they hold off improving teams such as the Washington Wizards and the
Detroit Pistons. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Hawks in the playoffs. It always wouldn't surprise me to see them as a NBA lottery team.
Last Season: 29-53 (tied for 11th in Eastern Conference)
Free Agent Signing: Al Harrington, Eric Maynor, Otto Porter Jr., Glen Rice Jr.
Free Agent Losses: A.J. Price, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Collins
The Washington Wizards haven’t reached played in the postseason since the 2007-2008, but will they is a sense that this could make the playoffs in 2013-2014 team. If the Wizards are to reach the postseason, it will all depend on point guard John Wall.
The former Kentucky Wildcat missed 33 games last season as he was recovering from a knee injury. When Wall returned, he was nothing but stellar as he averaged 18.5 points and 7.6 assist per game. Wall's best play off the season came in the months of March and April as he averaged 23 points and eight assists per game.
With additions of Al Harrington and first round draft pick Otto Porter, this will give the Wizards some depth.
The Heat, Pacers, Knicks, Nets and Bulls are no question playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. After that, there are some question marks with two or three spots since the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are rebuilding. The Wizards could certainly grab one of those possible available spots.
Last Season: 20-62 (worst record in the NBA)
Free Agent Signings: Victor Oladipo (drafted), Jason Maxiell, Ronnie Price, Romero Osby
Free Agent Losses: Al Harrington, Beno Udrih, DeQuan Jones
The Orlando Magic were the NBA's worst team a year ago, but the team seems to be headed in the right direction. Young players such as Tobias Harris, Nikola and Maurice Harkless saw some playing time and had a chance to develop especially after Orlando’s season went on.
The Magic might have found a superstar in 2013 number two overall selection Victor Oladipo. Orlando may not win a lot of games, but I expect the former Indiana Hoosier to be fun to watch.
Expect a similar season for the Orlando Magic in 2013-2014. They still has a young team and that's OK. The Magic's focus is to developing their young talent and to attempt to be a playoff team in a season or two.
Last Season: 66-16 (Best Record in the NBA and 2013 NBA Champions)
Free Agent Signings: C Greg Oden, Michael Beasley and C Chris Andersen (re-signed by Miami)
Free Agent Losses: SF/SG Mike Miller
The defending world champion Miami Heat have had a quiet off-season, but they did make some interesting additions.
The team signed center Greg Oden, but it's hard to know what to expected out of the former Ohio State Buckeye. The former number one overall pick has had three micro fracture knee surgeries and hasn't played in any game since 2009.
he signing I did like this off-season is bring back former first round pick Michael Beasley. The Heat signed him to a non guaranteed contract worth more than $1 million, so it is a low-risk, high reward signing. To be able to bring a 14.1 point career scorer off the bench is a luxury. I think if Beasley, makes the roster, he could play a role similar to what Lamar Odom played for the Los Angeles Lakers during their title runs.
Of course the big three (Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) return as well as Ray Allen, so I expect this team to have a similar season in 2013-2014 as they did in 2012-2013.
If the Heat make the finals, they would be the first team since the Boston Celtics in 1984-1987 to make four straight NBA Finals appearances. If they win the NBA Championship, they would be the first team since the Lakers in 2000-2002 to win three straight NBA Championships.