Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 NBA Preview: Southeast Conference

1st Place: Miami Heat (#1 Seed)

Lineup:
PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwayne Wade
SF LeBron James
PF Chris Bosh
C Joel Anthony
6th: F Shane Battier

The Heat didn't upgrade their center position or add a good distributor at point guard like they really needed too, but I absolutely love the add of Shane Battier. I could see a lot of lineups with Bosh at Center and Battier covering active PF's (probably wish they had him for Nowitzki). I expect a determined and focused LeBron and D-Wade will be D-Wade, good for 25/5/5. The wild card for me for this team and their championship aspirations lies in Chris Bosh. They need him to be the Toronto Chris Bosh and not the Bosh that showed up in '11. They need 22/10 at least, not 18/8 like they got in last year. That happens and the Heat are going to be tough. Jose Calderon would be a great add for this team!

3rd Place: Orlando Magic (#6 seed)

Lineup:
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Jason Richardson
SF Hedo Turkoglu
PF Ryan Anderson
C Dwight Howard
6th: F/C Glen Davis

If they end up hanging onto Howard, then move them up to 2nd, but even if they do deal Howard, they still should get enough value in return to at least have them in good position this season. If it were for Bynum and Gasol, I'd do that move if I were Orlando, and if they did, they'll be a playoff team. If they keep Howard, I'd put them as the 6th seed and move everyone back one. Love JRich and believe although Nelson isn't great, he's effective. Great example of a good team, but not great.

2nd Place: Atlanta Hawks (#8 seed)

Lineup:
PG Jeff Teague
SG Joe Johnson
SF Marvin Williams
PF Josh Smith
C Al Horford
6th: G/F Tracy McGrady

Only reason I have them ahead of Orlando is because I firmly believe Howard will be dealt before the end of January. Atlanta has a very nice up-and-coming squad with Smith and Horford finally taking that next step in consistency and the do-it-all Joe Johnson running the back-court. As long as Teague shows up like he did in the playoffs last year (reviews have been good), the Hawks will have a nice little squad. Added some veteran scorers to come off the bench, T-Mac and Jerry Stackhouse, to help put up some points. Still could use another big man as some depth though behind Smith and Horford, should have went after Kwame Brown!


4th Place: Washington Wizards

Lineup:
PG John Wall
SG Nick Young
SF Rashard Lewis
PF Andre Blatche
C JaVale McGee
6th: G Jordan Crawford

I don't know why a lot of critics are so hard on the Wizards, but I love their young makeup they have going. Their nucleus of Wall/Young/McGee/Blatche (all 25 or younger), is one of the better young bunches in the league, although they're still a year or 2 away from gelling and adding their final pieces. It would help their chances this season if Lewis could revert to his old days, but I think he's toast, and we could end up seeing Young at SF with Crawford at SG by mid-season. Wall gets all the hype but this McGee kid is amazing, averaging 13 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks over the seasons last 2 months and he's only 23. Team still lacks depth though.

5th Place: Charlotte Bobcats

Lineup:
PG D.J. Augustin
SG Gerald Henderson
SF Corey Maggette
PF Tyrus Thomas
C Boris Diaw
6th: G Kemba Walker

The Bobcats are a team in full re-build mode as they virtually have projects at every position outside of their strong point guard depth. You know your in trouble when the coach of the team is counting on the 33 year-old Corey Maggette to play big minutes and lead this team in scoring. If the 2nd half Gerald Henderson doesn't show up, they should strongly consider using Walker and Augustin together in the back-court, just to get Walker some minutes. They'll certainly be interesting to watch, but not in the normal sense. Should be one of worst teams in NBA.

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