NBA Preview: Southeast Division

southeastBy Stefan Anderson

The Southeast Division provides the Eastern Conference as well the NBA with a great amount of talent and will be making its mark this season.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are back and looking to build off their playoff success for the first time since 2009. With the Al Jefferson running the post as traditional back to basket player, with a trio of young wing players that include Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd Gilgchrist and Lance Stephenson, the buzz is definitely back in Charlotte. Rookies P.J Hariston and Noel Vonleh can provide some valuable minutes and provide that spark for their bench this season.

Charlotte has a great chance to be the winner of the Southeast Division and will make noise whether conquer the division or not.

Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta has had one the more underrated team in the past few seasons, clinching a playoff berth for the past 7 seasons. Establishing a winning culture and but failing to capitalize when they obtain the postseason success.  Adding players like Adrian Payne and Thabo Sefeloshia, give the Hawks and added presence but it will not be enough for this season especially in the Southeast division.

Atlanta should be in the hunt for the playoffs will fail to do so but expect to see them in the 9 or 10 spot competing regardless of their standing.

Miami Heat

Losing LeBron James sent shock waves but Miami did not panic. With the face of the franchise returning with his other co-star Chris Bosh, the Heat look to stay alive but not as a good as they have been for the past 4 years. Adding veterans like Luol Deng, Danny Granger, and Josh McRoberts, Miami has assembled a playoff roster this season. Rookie Shabazz Napier can bring a great impact to Miami and provide valuable minutes starting or coming off of the bench.

Miami doesn’t have much concern other than having Dwayne Wade on the court, as he’s been injured in the past few years but the supporting cast of Miami should propel to them to the playoffs.

Orlando Magic

The Magic are going to back in the same position they were in last season, rebuilding. Drafting Aaron Gordon and Alfred Payton to add along Vucevic and Oladipo give Orlando some hope for the future. The young team has promise but still have yet to add the pieces needed due to their many different reasons.

The Magic have a ways to go before reaching the success they want to see but have the potential to be there soon.

Washington Wizards

The Wiz Kids look to keep dazzling the NBA with young superstars John Wall and Bradley Beal at the helm.  Adding Paul Pierce might be just what the Wizards lack in the past season, a veteran with championship experience and can be the hand and glove fit needed.  They remain physical with Nene and Gortat, bringing many different dimensions and can make the next step this season.

The Wizards can be the other team to compete with the Bulls and Cavs this season to take the Eastern Conference.

Southeast Division Standings:

  1. Wizards(Playoff Team)
  2. Hornets (Playoff Team)
  3. Heat (Playoff Team)
  4. Hawks
  5. Magic
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NBA Trade Deadline: Was It Worth It?

By Stefan Anderson

After the All Star Break concludes, the real test of the NBA season begins when the last 30 games are played and playoff seeds are sealed. With that, you have teams that are gearing up for the playoff push and teams going for the complete opposite, rebuilding.  And in today’s NBA Trade Deadline came to end at 3 pm, some teams helped their chances, some were hesitant and some just stayed stagnant. With a plethora of trades that occurred during today’s deadline, I will elaborate and discuss the trade deadline. Here are you for the trade deadline awards.

Passing Me By Award: The Passing Me By Award goes to the team that failed to make a trade that can put them in the right position. This award goes to Houston Rockets and The Los Angeles Lakers.

  • The Houston Rockets failed to make a trade to acquire All-Star Point Guard Rajon Rondo. With the trade rumors circulating all week, Rondo would have joined a cast of James Harden and Dwight Howard to help propel the Rockets to Western Conference dominance. Although Rondo has not been the most interpersonal person in the past few years, his defense presence, playmaking skills and championship pedigree would have helped in the guard heavy West. When you get the playoffs and have to face guards like Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard, a player like Rajon Rondo would be a great guard to have on your team.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers are in the process of rebuilding and restricting their legacy and Kobe Bryant is in the waning moments of his career.  The Lakers are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference and are lottery ball bound. With a wealthy expiring contract of Pau Gasol, why not trade him for draft picks or a lesser value player. A draft to help the Lakers future to go along, with their upcoming lottery pick along with the luxury of getting Gasol contract off the books to bring in future stars(LeBron, Melo, Durant, Love)

Just The Right Fit: The Just The Right Fit award goes to the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors.

  • Washington has acquired veteran Andre Miller in a three way trade. Miller has always been a classy point guard until this season in Denver. His true point guard skills, unselfish ways and leadership can help the young Wizards as they make a playoff push.  The Wizards are currently sitting in 5th place in the East and with mentorship of Miller for John Wall can help lead the Wizards to the first playoff series win since 2005.
  • Golden State just traded for veteran point guard Steve Blake. Blake can provide that backup point guard role for All-Star Steph Curry, something the Warriors have been lacking since losing Jarrett Jack to free agency. Blake bring another shooter to already stacked Warriors team along with leadership off their young bench. Steve Blake could be that missing piece that can help Golden State win the West.

The Casino Award: The Casino Award goes to the Indiana Pacers.

  • Indiana has shown no sign of slowing after their game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Following an aggressive offseason where they added Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland.  The blue-collared Pacers continue to put the pedal to the medal, after signing big man Andrew Bynum and now receiving young swingman Evan Turner. The Eastern Conference leading Pacers are looking to put all their chips into winning the Eastern Conference along with a NBA Championship. Trading for the younger, more productive Turner for their former star Danny Granger gives the Pacers that edge they need take the two time defending champion Miami Heat out of their throne.

The Golden Ticket Award: The biggest winner of today’s Trade Deadline goes to The Philadelphia 76ers.

  • Although they traded one of the premier players in Evan Turner, they received much more and put themselves in a great opportunity to rebuild as they look to do in the future. Trading for an expiring contract in Danny Granger worth 13 million along with acquiring 5 draft picks through their active day during the trade deadline. With the emergence of rookie Michael Carter-Williams, the return of lottery pick Nerlens Noel and a lottery pick in this year’s draft, the Sixers are in great shape to build a great future through the draft along with free agency.