2009-2010 NBA Preview - Southeast Division

Since I grew up in Orlando, I figured I would start my preview with this division.

1. Orlando Magic. The Magic took a huge gamble by letting Hedo Turkoglu walk, and trading away a young up and coming potential good player for Vince Carter. I think both gambles will pay off. They also added depth with Jason Williams, Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes. All that to go along with former or current All Stars in Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis. It's championship or bust for the O-Town boys.

2. Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have improved their win total four years in a row. From 13, 26, 30, 37 and finally 47 last year. While it will be a lot to ask for the Hawks to reach the 50 win mark, it could happen. They managed to resign all of their main free agents. Another year of allowing the young guys to improve, the Hawks could be a problem. Unfortunately for them, the East is still a three team race. The Hawks could be good enough to lead that next group of teams, though.

3. Washington Wizards. I see a lot of publications picking the Wizards to finish high, even above the Magic. I admit, I bought into the hype for a little bit. They pulled off a great trade to land Mike Miller and Randy Foye for a guy who wound up not even coming to the NBA. But still, it's a lot to ask for Gilbert Arenas to come back healthy and strong. Even if all the guys are at full force, they won't play a lick of defense. This is a team that could win 50 games, but more then likely, they'll go back to the 40-45 wins they were acustomed to.

4. Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade showed how great he was last year. Leading the Heat to 43 wins despite lackluster talent around him. He's already hurt this year, and I think the three teams in the division all improved. I don't see Miami as a playoff team. Then again, I didn't last year either and they suprised me and many others. The key isn't Wade, but the further development of second year starters Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers.

5. Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats have reached that dreaded "not bad enough to draft elite talent but not good enough to make the playoffs" stage. When they did have high picks, they swung and missed like Mark Reynolds with guys like Adam Morrison. Now, they have a hard nosed team that will really struggle to put the ball in the basket. Tyson Chandler, Raja Bell, Raymond Felton, Boris Diaw and DJ Augustin are nice complimentary players, but none should be a starter on a great team. Gerald Wallace can't do it all himself, even if he was able to stay healthy. This team needs a super star.

Division Awards

All Southeast First Team

C - Dwight Howard, Magic
PF - Antawn Jamison, Wizards
SF - Caron Butler, Wizards
SG - Dwyane Wade, Heat
PG - Gilbert Arenas, Wizards

MVP - Dwight Howard, Magic
Rookie of the Year - Jeff Teague, Hawks (not much to choose from here)
Coach of the year - Stan Van Gundy, Magic
Most underrated player - Mario Chalmers, Heat
Most overrated player - Rashard Lewis, Magic

Jonathan Carrano

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