NBA Southeast Division Season Handicapping Preview (Part II)

Southeast Division (Part II)

The NBA season has arrived, with games due to tip off Oct 22nd, on Tuesday. Bovada has released odds of divisional crowns for the 30 NBA teams, and we are going to handicap that aspect as well as take a quick glance at each team as it enters the 2019-20 season. There are no over/under for season wins currently available for betting on Bovada, but we are going to predict season win totals for each team in the brief synopses of each of the six divisions in the NBA, moving here into the NBA’s Southeast Division, with a look at the bottom three teams (Part 2).

Atlanta (+650)

The Atlanta Hawks have a two-man core perhaps as good as any rebuild in basketball with John Collins and Trae Young both having potential All-Star appearances awaiting this season. But the Hawks will have to win to get one or both of them in, and that was a tough call last year with the Hawks going just 29-53. That said, Atlanta closed the season strong, finishing .500 over its final 10 games while Young started to really flash his potential. It did take the rookie a while to get into NBA form, but once he did, the Hawks really started to look pretty good. What hurts Atlanta ultimately is a lack of depth–and a lot of youth.

The Hawks start two second-year players (Young and Kevin Huerter), one third-year player (Collins), one rookie (DeAndre Hunter), and a fourth-year Alex Len. Behind them is more youth.

Atlanta could get more from Jabari Parker than any team yet, but he is an x-factor whose success will not move the meter much in either direction. The Hawks will look to develop Young and Collins together while simply seeing what it has in its remaining talents. Kevin Huerter could eventually be the solid third option Atlanta needs, but this team is several positions’ upgrades away from mattering yet. Even so, Atlanta should make a decent leap this year from 29 wins to somewhere about five to seven more.

Prediction: 34-48

Washington (+5000)

The Washington Wizards franchise was dealt a death blow with John Wall’s injury. There goes a half-decade plus of disappointments summed up in one injury, as the Wizards never came close to getting over the hump even with a healthy Wall. Expect Bradley Beal’s usage rate to shoot through the ceiling on a team bereft of major scoring threats.

Beal could average 26-plus points per game, but the result is still going to be a lot of “Ls” for the Wiz. Ish Smith starts at the point, backed up by the perpetually injured Isaiah Thomas. CJ Miles starts alongside promising rookie Rui Hachimura at forward, and Thomas Bryant should have a breakout season at center, for whatever that is worth. While Hachimura should be plenty of fun to watch and the Wizards are still eons ahead of a G-League team, the second unit is not why. Washington’s mediocre starting five is backed up by a lot of nothing, with injuries coursing through the entire roster already. It does not look good in DC.

Prediction: 24-58

Charlotte (+15000)

Charlotte should slug it out with Chicago and Washington for the worst team in the East. The Hornets bid farewell to Kemba Walker, and off with him went any chances Charlotte had at postseason basketball. He is replaced by Terry Rozier, who offers a lot of upside as a surprise breakout player, particularly with how he played in the postseason in 2017. He simply never really received the playing time upgrade he hoped for following that postseason, and as a result, he is now taking charge of a Hornets team that is, well, just really bad.

Former Florida State Seminole one-and-done Dwayne Bacon will have every chance to show his scoring talents, and the Hornets have other guys with keeping tabs on like rookie PJ Washington (who should start), but this is a team reliant on Cody Zeller at the 5-spot and Malik Monk is already entering “bust territory.”

There is not much to get excited about for the future of this team, and it will have to turn its attention to trying to get a franchise defining talent with its (likely) high 2020 draft pick.

Prediction: 20-62

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