A look at the Southeast Division and potential New Year's resolutions for each teamEvery NBA team will enter 2013 with an addition or a subtraction they’d like to do to their roster, or something they want to establish within the team, whether an identity or an attitude or something like a new offense. So here are some notes and resolutions that each team may want to start on. This time we look at the Southeast Division.
Atlanta HawksThe Hawks have crept up on a lot of teams, with many experts predicting them to slip back into the muddled middle of the road Eastern Conference with the trade of Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets. What they want for a New Years resolution is what they currently have, a healthy Al Horford. They lost him early last season, and he’s really shown how much of a class act he is, warranting his first All Star selection and forming one of the best frontline combos with Josh Smith – also deserving of an All Star birth. Lou Williams is doing exactly what the team signed him to do, score in bunches and get to the line and convert.
Charlotte BobcatsThe Bobcats just want respect, plain and simple. They’re not going to ‘ruin’ their chances at a high pick by winning a couple more games, and this season there isn’t an Anthony Davis type mega prospect, but there is a star in the making in Shabazz Muhammad. They want to pair an elite scorer to their already solid supporting cast, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has shown he could be the Pippen to a Jordan type star. Whether that comes through the draft or via free agency (not likely), is anyone’s guess. Kemba Walker has taken the big jump to good starting point guard this season, improving his decision making and shot selection whilst working with severely limited pieces around him.
Miami HeatMuch like the Clippers, the champs just need to keep the ship straight and keep everyone healthy. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have both had the odd injury, but both aren’t being trotted out 40 minutes a night, as coach Eric Spoelstra realises he needs his horses healthy for the playoffs. With the East being so weak at the top, the Heat realise that there isn’t the huge rush for playoff seeding, with the Knicks currently looking like the only team who could potentially stop them wrapping up the top seed in their conference. The only clearly visible chink the Heat armour is a weakness at defending the three point shot. It’s seen them lose both contests to the Knicks this season, as they consistently give up wide open shots, but luckily their offense is so good it mostly erases their defensive shortcomings.
Orlando MagicThe Magic really need a star, or they’re going to find themselves in a long transition period that could really set the team back over a long period, a la post-Shaq’s exit to the Lakers in 1996. I’ll admit it, I ripped the crap out of this team in the pre-season, thinking they made a horrible move not getting Andrew Bynum instead of the potpourri they accepted for Dwight Howard, and I can admit that I was wrong. Nikola Vucevic has been a double double machine over the past couple of weeks, filling the Stay Puft marshmallow man sized hole left by Glen Davis’ injury. Jameer Nelson and Aaron Afflalo are a solid backcourt, although they're just as likely to combine for 40 points as they are 20 a night later. The team is in transition, and will need to make a decision if they’re going to be a playoff contender, or another also-ran.
Washington WizardsThe latest news with John Wall included the dreaded ‘indefinite timetable’ for return sequence. It's not exactly the 6-8 weeks we were advised when he first injured his knee, although Wall now says he will be back next month. His return can’t come soon enough, as the Wizards have employed the services of such stellar lead guards as Shelvin Mack, Shaun Livingston, and AJ Price, not to mention Jordan Crawford doing his best impersonation of a point guard. The Wizards have some nice veterans and ‘intriguing’ young players such as Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton and Bradley Beal, but also cap stealers like Trevor Ariza and Jan Vessely. Beal in particular is learning tough on the job, where nothing has been easy for him and he has shown good mental strength to take the knocks as a rookie and come back for the next game. Up next is the New Year's Resolutions for the Southwest Division.
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