The Southeast has been a bit of a bore lately. The Heat keep winning, Atlanta looks locked into a middle of the Eastern conference seed, and the rest of the division, well, is a combined 5-25 in their last thirty games. Rather than search around the internet scouring for stats trying to make a column out of nothing, I decided to take a look at the experts. Therefore, below is a quick round up of each team, and then a look from some of the most trusted opinions in basketball. It is always good to give back(I guess the Christmas spirit is still in me.)
Miami Heat: 22-8, Last 10 8-2, Streak: Won 2
-The Heat own the best home record in basketball at 15-2. They simply look to be in about 6th to 7th gear, and I wouldn’t expect to see 8th or 9th gear until May(expect for games like Christmas day against OKC). I cannot wait to see how this team plays on the road against teams like the Thunder(2/14), Warriors(1/16), and Spurs(3/31) who have big front lines and can control the glass against the smaller Heat. They play another team who owns the glass tonight in the Bulls, although the leagues worst rebounding team seems to be finding ways around it. The Miami Heat Check from ESPN posted a great read about how the Heat have been able to overcome their regular season rebounding woes.
Check it out here: Lack of Rebounding Not Hurting Heat
Atlanta Hawks: 20-10, Last 10 6-4, Streak: Won 1
-The Hawks have shared the ball well to start the season, as they are ranked 2nd in the league at 23.4 assists a game. They have definitely exceeded many expectations by NBA experts, who at the beginning of the year were saying “a 7 or 8 seed is probably their ceiling and might not be a good thing for their future.”(We were one of them.) The truth of the matter is that the Hawks have a nice young core forming. While Al Horford and Josh Smith may seem like they have been in the league for a decade, Horford is just 26 and Smith is just 27. Lou Williams is also 26 and Jeff Teague is only 24. If you could grab another dependable big and decide to roll with Smith for long term(easier said than done convincing him to stay in ATL), that is a better core than most in the East. TrueHoop Affiliate HawksHoop write Bo Churney gives a great synopsis of the Hawks 30 games in.
Check it out here: Hawks status through 30 games
Orlando Magic: 12-20, Last 10 3-7, Streak: Lost 7
-As we said in the power rankings earlier this week, the Magic are really missing the consistent scoring of Glen Davis since he went down with injury. While Nicola Vucevic has been a small spark for them(averaging 14 and 13 in the last 10 games), you can’t really count on him to score against some of the bigger front lines in the East. Aaron Afflalo also hasn’t gotten into the scoring mode that they consistently need him too. The Magic as we have said before are slowly working into no mans land and need to make a decision about their future. According to Vucevic, SLAM online did a great Q+A with him a couple weekends ago.
Check it out here: Q+A Nikola Vucevic
Charlotte Bobcats: 8-23, Last 10 1-9, Streak: Won 1
-The Bobcats finally broke the streak. As we said before in the power rankings, what comes next? One thing is true, MKD is room enough to watch the Bobcats. His lock down defense on some of the best forwards in the game thus far has to be a sight for sore eyes in Charlotte. Working with him long terms has to be the goal for the Bobcats, and finding the pieces to build around him once he is fully ready to take the reins.(Remember, he is only 19 and is the youngest player in the NBA.) Yesterday, Bobcats TrueHoop network discussed the plus/minus of whether the Cats should make a move for DeMarcus Cousins.
Check it out here: Back and Forth on DeMarcus Cousins
Washington Wizards: 4-26, Last 10 1-9, Streak: Lost 3
-The Wizards surprisingly are 6th in rebounds in the league despite their awful record. John Wall cannot seem to get healthy, and with “rest” being the answer, that can’t be comforting for Washington fans. There is not much else to say here, this is a bad team without it’s best player who could have a more serious injury than people though. Until this team can’t get a stable rotation with their best player, they may want to find a way to unload some veteran contracts and look at upcoming drafts. Washington Post wrote a piece about John Wall possibly coming past.
Check it out here: John Wall Practices; Everybody Gushes
I will be live tweeting tonight’s Celt’s game from the Garden. Check me out on @picknpopdiaries and let me know your thoughts! Until next time your NBA YouTube Video!