The Southeast Division should be a two-team race this season as the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets are not the two best coached, two best defenses and simply the class of the division.
The Orlando Magic +1600 made some moves in the offseason and brought in a very good coach in Frank Vogel, but it just doesn’t quite feel like enough. It’s really hard to say if Elfrid Payton will ever be a quality NBA point guard and the team should go just as far as he’ll take them. Despite all of their draft picks over the past couple of seasons, the only player that looks like he could be a true NBA superstar is Aaron Gordon. He’s still years away though and a liability at times as he simply can’t shoot. Honestly, I’m surprised this line isn’t higher.
It’s crazy to see the Miami Heat +1600 here as well. Not that they don’t deserve to be, but it was only a couple of years that this team had Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Now they have Hasssan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow. While I like all of those players this just doesn’t feel like a playoff team and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dragic moved at some point. This team has lottery written all over it despite the video game numbers that Whiteside will put up this year.
The Washington Wizards +700 are the most interesting team here. Why aren’t they better? John Wall is a legitimate star in this league and Bradley Beal can play. They should be able to get more out of this squad, but even with a new coach in Scott Brooks it doesn’t seem like anything has changed. They are still a mess and they aren’t going to ever live up to the potential they showed in the playoffs two years ago. Blow it up, blow it all up.
Which brings us down to our top two: The Atlanta Hawks +105 and the Charlotte Hornets +160.
The Hornets are a fun team that was very fun to watch last season. They got career years from Nicolas Batum and Kemba Walker. If Walker can show that it wasn’t a fluke and that is actually the player that he is, then the Hornets just might have something here. That is a big if, but one that the Hornets are counting on. The defense will always be scary here and you have to play these guys hard every single night. I like this team a lot and this is a pretty solid bet.
Atlanta won the offseason award for “What is this team doing?” when they let go of Al Horford and brought in Dwight Howard. They couldn’t rebound at all with Horford, but had a quick rotating defense that was tough to play against. Unless, of course, you were the Cavs and you just swept them out of the playoffs. That move added rebounding and rim protection for Atlanta that it hasn’t had and they’ve managed to keep the tough defense. If everyone can stay healthy and they can keep that up, this is the team to beat in the Southeast.
2017 Southeast Division Betting Odds
- Atlanta +105
- Charlotte Hornets +160
- Washington +700
- Miami Heat +1600
- Orlando Magic +1600