Season Preview: Southeast Division

Posted on August 26, 2013 by Jacob Raim

Jacob Raim |

We have discussed the Wizards' offseason at length in this Blog, but what of their opponents?  With rosters now largely set, it's time to take a look at what the rest of the Eastern Conference has done over the offseason and what their lineups might look like for the coming year.  First up, the Southeast.

Who they brought in: Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll, Gustavo Ayon, Jared Cunningham, Pero Antic, Dennis Schroeder, Lucas Nogueira, Mike Muscala
Who left: Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia
The Hawks were poised to make big moves this offseason with a lot of cap room, but ended up making just one, bringing in Paul Millsap.  Millsap is a very solid big man on both ends of the floor who will play mistake free basketball.  Millsap will replace Josh Smith in the starting lineup, who signed with Detroit.  Millsap and Smith are extremely different players with Smith providing more athleticism and scoring while Millsap is a much better defender, rebounder and is more efficient than Smith.  Other than that, the biggest acquisition was from the draft where the Hawks grabbed lightning quick German point guard Dennis Schroeder.  Schroeder is compared frequently to Rondo or Parker, and while he will come off the bench, he should be a weapon for them.  Carroll, Ayon, and Brand all fit in on the second unit as bench players at the 3, 4 and 5 respectively.  The final big news for the Hawks this offseason was the replacement of Larry Drew with Mike Budenholzer at head coach.  Budenholzer was previously under Popovich's tutelage in San Antonio. 
Expecting Starting 5: Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford     


Who they brought in: Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller
Who left: Tyrus Thomas, Byron Mullins, Reggie Williams, DeSagna Diop
The Bobcats added to their post game significantly by adding Al Jefferson in the free agent market and then by drafting Cody Zeller.  Jefferson and Zeller in theory should work well together, with Jefferson as the bruising low post option and Zeller as the stretch big man.  Jefferson, as a great scorer, should be the low post option the Bobcats have been lacking for years.  Zeller looked great in summer league and looks like he could prove the doubters, who said the Bobcats reached on him at #4 overall, wrong in a hurry. He's going to be in the starting lineup from the get go and will receive plenty of looks in their offense.  Overall, the Bobcats' front court looks to be much improved.  Kemba Walker returns to lead the offense after a very nice sophomore season which saw him improve in just about every category.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the other young player of note on the roster and he will look to build on an uneven rookie season where there were huge expectations due to being the #2 overall pick.  The Bobcats also changed coaches in the offseason, going from Mike Dunlap to Steve Clifford.  It is Clifford's first head coaching gig after 11 years as an assistant with four different teams.
Expected Starting 5: Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson


Who they brought in: Greg Oden
Who left: Mike Miller
The status quo was kept in Miami after a second straight championship trophy.  With no significant changes to the roster, they'll hope that their big three of James, Wade and Bosh have enough in the tank for a third straight title.  Pat Riley said before the offseason got underway "I don't like to change that much, not when you’re winning."  So needless to say, it came as no surprise when so few moves were made.  They did however add free-agent center Greg Oden, which bodes as a great low-risk, high-reward type move. Due to a number of knee injuries, Oden has not played in a game since the 2009-10 season, but he is now trying to make a comeback with Miami.  He's only six years removed from being the #1 overall pick and has a great deal of talent. So if he is able to remain healthy, he could be a key contributor to another potential title run in Miami, even if it is in a limited capacity.  Mike Miller left and he was a nice shooter but the roster is chock full of shooters off the bench like Shane Battier, Ray Allen, James Jones and Rashard Lewis. With such a veteran roster and their big three all eligible to leave after the season, next year's offseason is sure to be more interesting than this one no matter what.
Expected Starting 5: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh


Who they brought in: Victor Oladipo, Jaxon Maxiell, Ronnie Price
Who left: Al Harrington
The Magic made their big moves at the trade deadline last year and were mostly quiet this offseason.  The biggest move came through the draft, taking Victor Oladipo at #2 overall.  Oladipo has the chance to be a very special player.  He can guard multiple positions very well and has all the tools to excel on offense.  Given his potential, lofty draft status and how many minutes the Magic plan to throw his way, he is a popular pick by pundits to win the Rookie of the Year award this season.  Jason Maxiell was signed from Detroit and will backup both front court positions.  He's only 6"7 but has a tireless motor and is very strong in the blocks.  The Magic are developing a good young core, with players like Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Moe Harkless, Aaron Afflalo, Glen Davis, Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson, that they hope will continue to grow together in the coming season.
Expected Starting 5: Jameer Nelson, Aaron Afflalo, Tobias Harris, Glen Davis (if healthy), Nikola Vucevic

Posted in: Sports
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