The NBA Dribbled Out

2012 NBA PREVIEW SOUTHEAST DIVISION:
TEAMS (in expected finishing order):
Miami Heat
Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards
Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Bobcats
FREE AGENT SIGNINGS/TRADES/RE-SIGNINGS:
Shane Battier-Miami
Mario Chalmers-Miami
Eddy Curry-Miami
Glen Davis-Orlando
Jason Richardson-Orlando
Justin Harper-Orlando
Tracy McGrady-Atlanta
Vladimir Radmanovic-Atlanta
Keith Benson-Atlanta
Jerry Stackhouse-Atlanta
Jan Vesely-Washington
Ronnie Turiaf-Washington
Roger Mason Jr.-Washington
Kemba Walker-Charlotte
Corey Maggette-Charlotte
Bismack Biyombo-Charlotte
Reggie Williams-Charlotte
2012 OUTLOOK:
It’s the Miami Heat and everyone else. With Dwight Howard’s future uncertain, so is this division, but regardless of whether Orlando deals Howard before tip-off or during the season, or never at all (and they stupidly take their chances next summer trying to re-sign him), the Miami Heat will still dominate this division and the whole conference and possibly whoever they face in the Finals. Possibly.
With the addition of Shane Battier and the big three with one year under their belt as a team, I don’t like the chances for any other team in the division. Sure, you want a more experienced point guard, Mario Chalmers and camp surprise Norris Cole fill out that role at present, but with Wade and LeBron initiating the offense in a lot of the sets, you really just want players that can knock down open threes. Chalmers can do that, on occasion, and he plays superb defense. If the Heat get any offense or playing time or basically anything from Eddy Curry (everyone would be shocked), that will just be icing on the cake as Joel Anthony filled in nicely at center last season. Wade, ‘Bron and Bosh will be running teams off the court this year as more sluggish superstars are fading into the twilight of their careers (ahem, Kobe). I have a fear the Heat will look unstoppable all year, and then we’ll see how LeBron handles the playoff intensity in the Finals again because that’s where they’re headed.
The Orlando Magic are in No Man’s Land, and it’s not a pretty area. They have a decent roster highlighted by the best center in the league, but with Dwight Howard’s impending exit at the end of the year, there’s no way to tell if he’ll stick around for the entire 2011-2012 season. That being said, they have Jameer Nelson and now Jason Richardson leading their back-court, so there will be lots of opportunities for Stan Van Gundy’s inside-outside game that thrived so well a couple years ago when they made the finals. Turkoglu at SF and Glen Davis at PF is nice, but Turkoglu is a perimeter player now, and Davis is still pretty small—even more so now that he’s slimmed down. They’ll finish second in the Southeast even after Atlanta’s shocking win in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. Then, they’ll implode in the playoffs the moment they start missing 3-pointers.
The Washington Wizards Professional Basketball Team features one of the most exciting young players in the league. Maybe, THE MOST EXCITING. John Wall makes a basketball fan’s stomach lurch like they’re bungee-jumping. His incredible speed and ability to get to the basket and finish above the rim excites even the mealy-mouthed Washington Post columnists. If Wall cuts down on his turnovers and shoots jumpers less frequently, they’re going to be much better this year. He won’t be alone this time either. With JaVale McGee’s continued maturation, Jordan Crawford’s more experienced play and Andray Blatche’s low-post skills—if he’s not dealt before the season, they’re a pretty decent group. Not to mention the additions of kissing Jan Vesely and continued presence of former Magic forward, Richard Lewis’ contract 12 and 5 stat production, or about $1,000,000 per for every rebound and basket. Amnesty wasn’t an option since they need Lewis as their Small Forward. Wall and Co. will still surprise people this year and finish ahead of Atlanta—simply because John Wall willed it so. #TeamJohnWall will be trending shortly.
The Atlanta Hawks are similar to the Wizards in that they’re paying someone, Joe Johnson, superstar money for above average play and not much else. Joe Johnson isn’t even the best player on this team. That distinction goes to the other-worldly wingspan of Josh Smith. He is a fast break dunk waiting to happen; an older Blake Griffin with just as much hops in reserve after a dunk to swat a shot into the 4th row(much to the chagrin of the grinning Bill Russell) going the other way. Josh Smith is a man that should trigger a fear dopamine response in any point guard that lofts up a runner in the lane. It will be driven into the crowd with the exuberance of one that lives to block. That’s Josh Smith. Also, they picked up Tracy McGrady to offset the loss of Jamal Crawford. They still have Al Thornton in the block, and Marvin Williams (yes, #1 pick Marvin Williams) running the wing. They’ll be good, but not great, and there’s no one that can stay with John Wall, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. Hawks fans shouldn’t be worried though. No one can stay with them.
Corey Maggette will shoot the ball at least 25 times a game this year, and Michael Jordan might strangle a Bobcat’s staffer because they’re gonna be the worst team in this division on their way to ping pong balls and the lottery luck. My guess is their new GM, Rich Cho, might be the one getting strangled, but Cho is the largest off-season acquisition they’ve made (not counting MJ’s enemies among the players now). Bobcats fans might as well start praying for a good lottery position. No way Maggette, Boris Diaw, D.J. Augustin (until Kemba Walker takes his spot), big man DeSagana Diop and Gerald Henderson scare anybody except their own fans. Congratulations MJ, this is your small-market team this year.
pic via

2012 NBA PREVIEW SOUTHEAST DIVISION:

TEAMS (in expected finishing order):

  • Miami Heat
  • Orlando Magic
  • Washington Wizards
  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Charlotte Bobcats

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS/TRADES/RE-SIGNINGS:

  • Shane Battier-Miami
  • Mario Chalmers-Miami
  • Eddy Curry-Miami
  • Glen Davis-Orlando
  • Jason Richardson-Orlando
  • Justin Harper-Orlando
  • Tracy McGrady-Atlanta
  • Vladimir Radmanovic-Atlanta
  • Keith Benson-Atlanta
  • Jerry Stackhouse-Atlanta
  • Jan Vesely-Washington
  • Ronnie Turiaf-Washington
  • Roger Mason Jr.-Washington
  • Kemba Walker-Charlotte
  • Corey Maggette-Charlotte
  • Bismack Biyombo-Charlotte
  • Reggie Williams-Charlotte

2012 OUTLOOK:

It’s the Miami Heat and everyone else. With Dwight Howard’s future uncertain, so is this division, but regardless of whether Orlando deals Howard before tip-off or during the season, or never at all (and they stupidly take their chances next summer trying to re-sign him), the Miami Heat will still dominate this division and the whole conference and possibly whoever they face in the Finals. Possibly.


With the addition of Shane Battier and the big three with one year under their belt as a team, I don’t like the chances for any other team in the division. Sure, you want a more experienced point guard, Mario Chalmers and camp surprise Norris Cole fill out that role at present, but with Wade and LeBron initiating the offense in a lot of the sets, you really just want players that can knock down open threes. Chalmers can do that, on occasion, and he plays superb defense. If the Heat get any offense or playing time or basically anything from Eddy Curry (everyone would be shocked), that will just be icing on the cake as Joel Anthony filled in nicely at center last season. Wade, ‘Bron and Bosh will be running teams off the court this year as more sluggish superstars are fading into the twilight of their careers (ahem, Kobe). I have a fear the Heat will look unstoppable all year, and then we’ll see how LeBron handles the playoff intensity in the Finals again because that’s where they’re headed.

The Orlando Magic are in No Man’s Land, and it’s not a pretty area. They have a decent roster highlighted by the best center in the league, but with Dwight Howard’s impending exit at the end of the year, there’s no way to tell if he’ll stick around for the entire 2011-2012 season. That being said, they have Jameer Nelson and now Jason Richardson leading their back-court, so there will be lots of opportunities for Stan Van Gundy’s inside-outside game that thrived so well a couple years ago when they made the finals. Turkoglu at SF and Glen Davis at PF is nice, but Turkoglu is a perimeter player now, and Davis is still pretty small—even more so now that he’s slimmed down. They’ll finish second in the Southeast even after Atlanta’s shocking win in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. Then, they’ll implode in the playoffs the moment they start missing 3-pointers.

The Washington Wizards Professional Basketball Team features one of the most exciting young players in the league. Maybe, THE MOST EXCITING. John Wall makes a basketball fan’s stomach lurch like they’re bungee-jumping. His incredible speed and ability to get to the basket and finish above the rim excites even the mealy-mouthed Washington Post columnists. If Wall cuts down on his turnovers and shoots jumpers less frequently, they’re going to be much better this year. He won’t be alone this time either. With JaVale McGee’s continued maturation, Jordan Crawford’s more experienced play and Andray Blatche’s low-post skills—if he’s not dealt before the season, they’re a pretty decent group. Not to mention the additions of kissing Jan Vesely and continued presence of former Magic forward, Richard Lewis’ contract 12 and 5 stat production, or about $1,000,000 per for every rebound and basket. Amnesty wasn’t an option since they need Lewis as their Small Forward. Wall and Co. will still surprise people this year and finish ahead of Atlanta—simply because John Wall willed it so. #TeamJohnWall will be trending shortly.

The Atlanta Hawks are similar to the Wizards in that they’re paying someone, Joe Johnson, superstar money for above average play and not much else. Joe Johnson isn’t even the best player on this team. That distinction goes to the other-worldly wingspan of Josh Smith. He is a fast break dunk waiting to happen; an older Blake Griffin with just as much hops in reserve after a dunk to swat a shot into the 4th row(much to the chagrin of the grinning Bill Russell) going the other way. Josh Smith is a man that should trigger a fear dopamine response in any point guard that lofts up a runner in the lane. It will be driven into the crowd with the exuberance of one that lives to block. That’s Josh Smith. Also, they picked up Tracy McGrady to offset the loss of Jamal Crawford. They still have Al Thornton in the block, and Marvin Williams (yes, #1 pick Marvin Williams) running the wing. They’ll be good, but not great, and there’s no one that can stay with John Wall, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. Hawks fans shouldn’t be worried though. No one can stay with them.

Corey Maggette will shoot the ball at least 25 times a game this year, and Michael Jordan might strangle a Bobcat’s staffer because they’re gonna be the worst team in this division on their way to ping pong balls and the lottery luck. My guess is their new GM, Rich Cho, might be the one getting strangled, but Cho is the largest off-season acquisition they’ve made (not counting MJ’s enemies among the players now). Bobcats fans might as well start praying for a good lottery position. No way Maggette, Boris Diaw, D.J. Augustin (until Kemba Walker takes his spot), big man DeSagana Diop and Gerald Henderson scare anybody except their own fans. Congratulations MJ, this is your small-market team this year.

pic via