Southeast Notes: Preview, Kuzma, Poole, Avdija, Magic

David Alridge, Eric Nehm and Josh Robbins of The Athletic recently previewed the Southeast Division. Both Aldridge and Robbins think the Wizards overhauling their front office was the most impactful move a Southeast team made this offseason, while Nehm thought the Hornets showing confidence in LaMelo Ball by giving him a max extension was arguably the biggest move.

As for decisions that might backfire, Aldridge questions the Magic selecting Anthony Black sixth overall in June’s draft. He wonders where another point guard will fit into Orlando’s rotation, especially one with a shaky jump shot on a team in need of floor spacing.

Nehm believes the Hawks might regret trading John Collins, as he’s a firm believer in the power forward’s talent and wonders if he was the right player to move. As for Robbins, he thinks the Heat got worse by not making a major trade while losing Max Strus and Gabe Vincent in free agency.

The three writers also chose breakout candidates for the division, with Aldridge selecting Hornets forward Miles Bridges, Nehm picking Magic forward Franz Wagner, and Robbins going for Magic point guard Markelle Fultz.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • How can Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole become All-Stars in 2023/24? Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network explores that topic, writing that the two Wizards will have to increase their scoring averages to 25-plus points per game, lead the team to a winning record at the All-Star break, and improve their statistics in non-scoring categories.
  • There were rumors during the summer that Wizards forward Deni Avdija was dealing with a hip injury. However, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said Avdija will be a full participant in training camp. He looks strong,” Unseld said, according to Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I think he had a tremendous summer.”
  • Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel lists five Magic storylines ahead of training camp. Can reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero improve his scoring efficiency and defense? Will the team attempt more shots and become more accurate from three-point range? Those are two of the questions posed by Beede.
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