A month into the season, there’s one division that doesn’t have a team with a winning record.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that division is the Southeast. Washington seemed like the class of the five-team grouping heading into the season but the Wizards got off to a horrendous start. They lost nine of their first 11 games and both John Wall and Bradley Beal called out their teammates. There were also questions about the status of coach Scott Brooks and speculation that the team’s high-priced backcourt would be broken up.
A three-game winning streak has temporarily muffled the Wizards’ critics, though they often seem like a team that’s on the verge of imploding. Wall and Beal have an uneasy partnership, Otto Porter Jr. hasn’t lived up to his big contract and Dwight Howard has a habit of wearing out his welcome quickly.
The Hornets led the division entering Friday’s action with a .500 mark. The Hornets are heavily reliant on their guards for offense — their top four scorers are the starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb and backups, Malik Monk and Tony Parker. Their rotation of frontcourt players doesn’t scare anyone.
The Heat have plenty of depth but no stars, except for one near the end of his career (Dwyane Wade). Josh Richardson has been their top scorer in the early going but coach Erik Spoelstra has a tricky task of divvying up minutes and it will be an even more delicate situation when James Johnson and Dion Waiters return from injuries. Hassan Whiteside has never been one to hide his displeasure concerning his playing time but emerging big man Bam Adebayo needs to have a defined role.
The Magic need to develop their young bigs, Mohamed Bamba and Jonathan Isaac, but they’re currently backing up the team’s top two scorers, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. The point guard duo of D.J. Augustin and Jerian Grant doesn’t make a lot of turnovers but Orlando sorely lacks players who can create and draw fouls. The Magic rank last in free throws attempted.
The rebuilding Hawks can be dismissed from the discussion.
That brings us to our question of the day: Which team do you feel will wind up as the Southeast Division champion?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.