We simply cannot wait for the new NBA season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first tip off. If you are like us and love the NBA, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the Southeast Division and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
The Atlanta Hawks opened the 2021-22 season with eight wins in their first 10 home games and sported an 11-10 mark after 21 games. But the Hawks lost 17 of their final 31 road matchups to finish second in the Southeast Division with a 43-39 record. Atlanta defeated the Charlotte Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat in five games.
Nate McMillan returns for his third season as head coach of the Hawks. Atlanta traded for Dejounte Murray and Justin Holiday to upgrade its defense. The Hawks will be in the hunt for 50 wins this season but will lose in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Two-time All-Star Trae Young has developed into one of the NBA’s premier point guards. The 24-year-old court general averaged 28 points and nine assists last season while shooting 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from behind the three-point line.
Coming soon to an arena near you….🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Lp68cueRXg
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 24, 2022
Murray led the league in steals and posted career highs across the board with 21 points, eight boards, nine dimes, and a pair of steals with the San Antonio Spurs. The 26-year-old guard became the only player in NBA history to average 20 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, and two steals a game.
The Hawks’ frontcourt will consist of De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, and Clint Capela. Hunter was the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft and averaged 13 points and three rebounds last season. Collins tallied 16 points and seven boards in his fifth season, while Capela averaged a double-double with 11 points and an equal number of rebounds.
Bogdan Bogdanovic underwent knee surgery during the offseason and will be the Hawks’ sixth man this season. Atlanta will surpass last season’s 43-win total but will be hard-pressed to get past the first round of the playoffs.
The Charlotte Hornets sprinted out the gate to start the 2021-22 season with five wins in their first seven games. But the Hornets posted a 14-15 record over their next 29 contests before finishing the season with 26 wins in their last 48 games. Charlotte finished third in the Southeast Division with a 43-39 mark but lost in the play-in tournament to the Atlanta Hawks.
Steve Clifford begins his second stint as head coach of the Charlotte franchise. The Hornets drafted Duke center Mark Williams with the 15th overall pick, but the loss of Miles Bridges, who was charged with felony domestic violence, is a big blow to the Hornets’ playoff hopes. Charlotte will struggle to win 40 games this season and miss the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
The 2021 Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball put up impressive numbers in his second season, averaging 20 points, six rebounds, and seven assists to earn his first All-Star nod. The 21-year-old point guard shot 38 percent from behind the arc and has established himself as one of the league’s top court generals.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) October 11, 2022
Veteran guard Terry Rozier joins Ball in the Hornets’ backcourt. The 28-year-old posted 19 points and four dimes while shooting 44 percent from the field. P.J. Washington and Gordon Hayward are the starting forwards. The 12th overall pick in 2019, Washington averaged 10 points and five rebounds last season. Hayward tallied 15 points, four boards, and three assists but has averaged playing in just 43 games over the past five seasons.
The Hornets lack depth and have too many question marks to contend for a playoff spot this season. Mason Plumlee and Kelly Oubre will also be key contributors. Plumlee averaged six points and seven boards last season, while Oubre shot 44 percent from the field and averaged 15 points and four rebounds.
The Miami Heat stormed out the gate in 2021-22 with 24 wins in their first 37 games. The Heat struggled in January with a 9-6 card but regrouped to win 22 of their final 32 contests to claim the Southeast Division title with a 53-29 record. The Heat didn’t make the NBA Finals, as they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics, in seven games.
Erik Spoelstra enters his 15th season at the helm of the Heat. The Heat will have an uphill climb to win 50 games but should advance to the second round of the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons. Miami had a quiet offseason but lost P.J. Tucker in free agency to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler posted 21 points, five rebounds, and five assists in his 12th season. The 33-year-old connected on 48 percent of his shots from the field but played in only 57 games and has missed 191 games over the past six seasons.
Another double double for Nikola 📈 pic.twitter.com/ycurOGXeAD
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 11, 2022
Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry returns for his 18th NBA season after averaging 13 points and seven dimes in his maiden season with the Heat. The six-time All-Star shot 44 percent from the field, and turned 36 in March.
Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson will join Butler in the frontcourt. Adebayo averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field, and Robinson tallied 10 points and two boards. Guards Max Strus and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro averaged 10 and 20 points, respectively.
Miami remains one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference but will struggle to get past the second round with their aging All-Star players. Victor Oladipo and Dewayne Dedmon provide much-needed depth for the Heat. Oladip shot 41 percent from three-point range and posted 12 points a game last season. Dedmon connected on 40 percent of his shots from behind the arc and added six points and five rebounds a game.
The Orlando Magic started the 2021-22 season with 29 losses in their first 36 games. The Magic played better in the second half of the season and notched 15 victories in their final 46 games to finish fifth in the Southeast Division with a 22-60 record.
Jamahl Mosley begins his second season as head coach of the Magic. Orlando drafted Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft. The Magic continue to stockpile young talent, but inexperience and a weak bench will cause the franchise to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
The ACC Rookie of the Year has tremendous upside and will quickly become the face of the franchise. Banchero is a mammoth-sized forward who dribbles like a point guard. The 6-foot-10 rookie shot 47 percent from the field and averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists during his lone season at Duke.
the ~literal~ definition of a unicorn pic.twitter.com/LLNY0eR8js
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 10, 2022
Wendell Carter and Franz Wagner will join Banchero to form a young but talented frontcourt. Carter was the seventh overall pick in 2018, and tallied 15 points and 10 boards last season. Wagner was chosen with the eighth pick last year and averaged 15 points and four rebounds during his rookie season.
The Magic backcourt features a pair of top 5 draft picks. Point guard Markelle Fultz is a former first-overall selection who posted 10 points and five assists in 18 games after recovering from a torn ACL. Jalen Suggs was the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft and averaged 11 points and four dimes in his rookie campaign.
Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac, and Chuma Okeke will play key roles off the bench. Bamba tallied 10 points and eight boards, while Isaac missed the entire season recovering from a torn left ACL and meniscus. Okeke posted eight points and five rebounds in 70 games in his second season. Orlando will miss the playoffs and lose 50-plus games, but the future is bright for the Magic.
The Washington Wizards collected wins in five of their first six games to start the 2021-22 season on a winning note. The Wizards cooled off and went 13-16 in their next 29 contests, winning 17 of their final 46 games to finish fourth in the Southeast Division with a 35-47 record. Washington failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third time in the last five seasons.
Wes Unseld Jr. begins his second season as the head coach of the Wizards. Washington drafted Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis and added Will Barton, Monte Morris, Taj Gibson, and Delon Wright. The Wizards will challenge for a play-in tournament spot but will miss the playoffs for a second straight season.
Three-time All-Star Bradley Beal played in only 40 games last season and averaged 23 points and six assists. The 29-year-old shot 45 percent from the field and will remain the Wizards’ number 1 scoring option.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 11, 2022
Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis has played for three teams in seven seasons. The 7-foot-3 center was the fourth overall pick in 2015 and averaged 22 points and eight rebounds in 17 games with Washington after coming over from the Dallas Mavericks.
Kyle Kuzma and Will Barton will join Porzingis in the frontcourt. Kuzma shot 45 percent from the field, and averaged 17 points, eight points, and three dimes last season. Barton posted 14 points and four boards with the Denver Nuggets while shooting 43 percent from the field.
A lack of quality depth and too many question marks will prevent Washington from qualifying for the playoffs. Point guard Monte Morris connected on 39 percent of his shots from behind the arc and averaged 12 points and four assists in 75 games with the Nuggets. Davis tallied 19 points and eight rebounds in his final season with the Badgers while hitting 42 percent of his shots from the field.
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