2009-10 NBA Southeast Division Preview
The Southeast Division is loaded with playoff contenders. There are so many that anywhere from three to four teams from the conference will be in this year’s post season. To say that the Orlando Magic will be there is certainly a no-brainer. Other teams that have a shot include the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat. The odd one left out will be the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Orlando Magic are simply loaded. They have a fine starting five that includes former New Jersey Net Vince Carter. Additionally, head coach Stan Van Gundy is a taskmaster who knows how to refine players and teams. Upfront, Dwight Howard is simply one of the best offensive and defensive forces in the NBA. Stop them if you can. It’s doubtful many teams will have a chance against these guys.
One team that is not loaded but has enough consistent and disciplined players to make it a playoff club is Atlanta. This is a team that executes well both on offense and defense. In the off-season, they added some important bench players who will help make them a bit more competitive in the playoffs. Coach Mark Woodson knows how to get the most out of every player on his squad.
It must be tough to be the Washington Wizards, since they appear to be the only club in the division that won’t make it into the post season. The Wizards are coming off of a disastrous season. After finishing second in the division for many years, the team went belly up and finished dead last in the entire league. Coach Flip Saunders has been brought in and with the talent on-hand should be able to get this team into the post season. As long as star Gilbert Arenas stays healthy, which did not happen last year, Washington will be a contender to get to the playoffs. But what chance does this team have in a division that may offer four playoff teams.
Last season, it all came down to one name for the Miami Heat: Dwayne Wade. The Heat could go to the post-season again in 2009- 2010, but they are a relatively thin team when it comes to offense. Additionally, although they have some very fine young talent, two-thirds of their frontcourt and one-half of the team’s backcourt is aging quickly. This is a team on the edge and they can certainly go either way.
The Charlotte Bobcats could be the surprise team of the 2009-10 season. The biggest problem is on offense where the Cats are severely lacking. The defense is strong overall but what this team really needs is a superstar player or two. Head coach Larry Brown will get the most that he can out of these guys and it wouldn't shock us to see coach Brown get MJ back in the playoffs although this time as an owner, not a player.
The Southeast Division is highly competitive. The Magic will dominate and after that the Hawks, Bobcats and Heat will all offer fine competition. Of course there’s little room for error. If only three clubs get to the Promised Land then the Heat will be sitting out the playoffs with the Bobcats.
2009-10 NBA Southeast Division Predictions
Projected Order of Finish: Click on team name for individual in-depth team outlook.