While the Heat are the only team in the Southeast Division more than three games above .500, the division is full of relative successes in a down year for the Eastern Conference. If the Hawks can hang on to the eighth seed, the division should send four teams to the postseason, and even the last-place Magic have improved upon their record from last year. More from the relatively strong division:
- After shooting just 38% and struggling to stay on the floor without fouling in his first 55 games with the Bobcats, Cody Zeller has had more success in recent games. The fourth pick from the 2013 draft tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he is adjusting to the speed of the game. “You’ve got to be really into the details. There was stuff I could get away with in college on athleticism or being stronger than the other guy. Here everybody is just that athletic and just that strong,” said Zeller.
- Victor Oladipo tells John Denton of Magic.com that while he often wonders what might have been had the Cavs selected him first-overall in last year’s draft, he’s happy he landed with the Magic. “First off, I was happy for (Anthony Bennett) because that’s a great accomplishment for someone to say that they were picked No. 1,’’ Oladipo said. “At the same time, I was just wondering where I was going. Then, I ended up going here, so I didn’t have to wait too long. It was a pretty amazing feeling.”
- In a separate Denton feature, Oladipo cautions incoming draftees that the NBA is tougher than they might think. “I don’t want to say that it was a rude awakening for me, but it definitely gave me a different perspective on the league. You have to be on your A-game in this league because you’re going against the best,” said Oladipo, who only gives his rookie season with the Magic a “D” grade.
- After a frustratingly slow start to the season due to injury, Magic forward Tobias Harris is adjusting to his role off the bench, telling Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel he’s happy with his improved consistency. “That was my goal going into the year: just to be consistent game-in and game-out and just to get better every game,” Harris said. “I think that’s probably one of the biggest improvements I’ve made.”