In this weekly series, Max Gabovitch will be taking a look at each division in the NBA as the regular season quickly approaches. Today, the Southeast division, home of the defending NBA champions, Miami Heat.
2011-2012 Regular Season Record: 46-20
Playoffs: #2 seed in Eastern Conference, won NBA Championship (New York 4-1, Indiana 4-2, Boston 4-3, Oklahoma City 4-1)
Key Additions: Ray Allen (FA), Rashard Lewis (FA), Justin Hamilton (Draft), Jarvis Varnado (Draft),
Key Losses: Ronny Turiaf (FA)
2012-2013 Outlook: The Heat enter the 2012-2013 season looking to defend their NBA title, and when you look at their roster moves this offseason, it’s hard to bet against them. Not only to they return almost the entire championship roster, including the entire starting line-up, but they also added the leagues all time leader in 3-point field goals in Ray Allen while also signing Rashard Lewis at the veteran’s minimum. The defending champs have managed to get even better, and have sent a message to the entire league – watch out.
2011-2012 Regular Season Record: 40-26
Playoffs: #5 seed in Eastern Conference, lost first round (Boston 2-4)
Key Additions: John Jenkins (Draft), Mike Scott (Draft), Lou Williams (FA), Anthony Morrow (Trade), DeShawn Stevenson (Trade), Johan Petro (Trade), Devin Harris (Trade), Kyle Korver (Trade), Jordan Williams (Trade), Danny Ferry (GM)
Key Subtractions: Joe Johnson (Trade), Marvin Williams (Trade), Willie Green (Trade), Kirk Hinrich (FA), Jason Collins (FA), Jerry Stackhouse (FA), Vladimir Radmanovic (FA)
2012-2013 Outlook: The Hawks have managed to be a playoff team for the past five years. They have been a top-five seed for the past four seasons, but have never been able to get past thesecond round of the playoffs. This off-season, Danny Ferry was brought in as the new general manager and got to work quickly, trading away all-star Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams while getting some nice pieces in return. While Johnson was the best player on the roster, his contract was absolutely ridiculous and really limited the team’s flexibility in the free agent market. Without Johnson, and with Josh Smith being a free-agent next summer and potential being dealt mid-season, the Hawks will likely take a step backwards this season. The team will be fighting to sneak into the playoffs this year. However, the goal for Ferry is to use the salary-cap space he gained by dealing Johnson to bring in a superstar free agent next summer, and help this franchise take the next step in becoming a true championship contender.
2011-2012 Regular Season Record: 37-29
Playoffs: #6 seed in Eastern Conference, lost first round (Indiana 1-4)
Key Additions: Andrew Nicholson (Draft), Kyle O’Quinn (Draft), Arron Afflalo (Trade), Gustavo Ayon (Trade), Christian Eyenga (Trade), Maurice Harkless (Trade), Al Harrington (trade), Josh McRoberts (Trade), Nikola Vucevic (Trade), Jacque Vaughn (Head Coach)
Key Subtractions: Dwight Howard (Trade), Jason Richardson (Trade), Ryan Anderson (Trade), Chris Duhon (Trade), Earl Clark (Trade), Stan Van Gundy (Head Coach
2011-2012 Outlook: The Magic finally ended the Dwight Howard drama that had surrounded the franchise for the past year by sending the big man to the Lakers this summer. Now, let the rebuilding process begin in Orlando. The Magic had a really nice draft, getting big men Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn, and got some nice, young talent in the Howard trade that they can build on with Arron Afflalo, Mo Harkless, and Nikola Vucevic. New head coach Jacque Vaughn definitely has his work cut out for him, and this is not a playoff team this season.
2011-2012 Regular Season Record: 20-46
Playoffs: Missed playoffs (14th in Eastern Conference)
Key Additions: Bradley Beal (Draft), Tomas Satoransky (Draft), A.J. Price (FA), Martell Webster (FA), Trevor Ariza (Trade), Emeka Okafor (Trade)
Key Subtractions: Rashard Lewis (Trade), Andray Blatche (Amnesty)
2011-2012 Outlook: Over the last four years, the Wizards have consistently been one of the NBA’s worst teams. Over that span, their best season was in 2009-2010 when they went 26-56 (.317 winning percentage). There were some big changes this offseason, with Rashard Lewis being dealt for Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Andray Baltche being waived via the amnesty clause, and Bradley Beal being drafted with thethird pick in the draft. However, nothing was major enough to see a significant improvement for the team. John Wall, thefirst pick in the 2010 draft, has shown flashes of brilliance during his first 2 seasons, but really struggled last season from behind the arc, going 3-for-42 for the season (7.1%). Jordan Crawford also has shown that he can be a key contributor, and looks to continue improving in his third season in the league. Bradley Beal has a lot of potential, Nene is a solid center that they traded for during last season and Ariza and Okafor are nice pieces as well. With that said, the team still lacks depth and will have a tough time competing with most of the league. The Wizards should be a little better than last season, but that’s not saying much.
2011-2012 Regular Season Record: 7-59
Playoffs: Missed playoffs (15th in Eastern Conference)
Key Additions: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Draft), Jeff Taylor (Draft), Ramon Sessions (FA), Brendan Haywood (FA/Amnesty Awarded), Ben Gordon (Trade), Mike Dunlap (Head Coach)
Key Subtractions: D.J. Augustin (FA), Corey Maggette (Trade), Eduardo Najera (Retired), Paul Silas (Head Coach)
2012-2013 Outlook: The good news for new head coach Mike Dunlap? He’s got nowhere to go but up. The Bobcats went 7-59 last season, setting a league record for worst winning percentage in a season (.106), and then didn’t win the draft lottery, losing out on Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. The Bobcats used thesecond pick in the draft on Davis’s college teammate, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is a terrific athlete but needs a lot of work on his game. Ben Gordon is a slight upgrade over Corey Maggette, and Ramon Sessions is probably a slight upgrade over D.J. Augustin, but overall, these changes won’t change much for the team. The Bobcats will again be the worst team in the NBA this season, and there is no end to the losing in sight for Charlotte.