Or should we say the South Beach Division, as the South Beach Heat have taken the division three years in a row and most certainly will snatch it up for a 4th. The 13-14 year is going to be interesting in this division (with the exception of the Heat of course). This is one of the youngest divisions in the league along with the Northwest Div; so there’s that word ‘potential’ again, but there’s also a good mixture of developed/developing talent down below the Mason-Dixon Line. Can John Wall elevate himself to elite status and make the Wiz credible again? Will anyone really dethrone the Heat? Are the Hawks going to make us sit through another year of watching them in the playoffs? When will Mike give it the f*** up?
“D.C. is definitely ready for us, D.C. is it. I’m tellin you man. Mitch, look at me, D.C.” -Rico (Paid in Full). I’m feeling the same way about the Wizards of Washington this year. But we aren’t talking bricks here (hopefully not), we’re talking straight cash, a calm playoff appearance, above .500 basketball, some games for the President to show up at, a team Rayful Edmond would be proud of. Moving away from the urban references though the Wizards look poised to make a strong playoff push. A dismal start without floor general John Wall spelled the Wizards doom last season, but a 24-25 mark after the return of Wall forced our hand this year. Just like most fringe playoff teams, their success is going to hinge on the health of their stars (Wall, Beal, Okafor, Nene) who have all have a healthy history of suits and ties on the sideline. Okafor is already sidelined for the early part of the season with a herniated disc, so there goes a couple of wins right there. But the Wizards still have one of the best back-courts in the NBA with Wall and Beal. Wall has said ALL of the right things to the press so far this off season, from his comments about making/not making the playoffs to how he welcomes the pressure given the max deal the Wizards set him off with. Beal got better and stronger as last season progressed, I’m expecting a big season from him especially with the decline of the SG position in the NBA. The front-court isn’t that shabby itself (when healthy), a number of swings will fight it out over minutes there with vets Ariza and Martell Webster, and then rookie Otto Porter Jr. As much pressure as we’d like to put on Wall, understand that Nene has got to put numbers on the board this season, his 12 and 6 last year won’t cut it, you would think that with Okafor out early that Nene will try to shoulder some of those lbs. The Wizards are going to have a nice complimentary bench too with 2 out of 3 of those swings coming off of it, career back-up Eric Maynor and Jersey’s own bench specialist Al Harrington. This may be another team where my optimism shows but I have them at a respectable 43-39, good enough to get back in the playoffs and bow out in the first round.
Go and watch this hood classic right now
What’s left to say about the Heat at this point? Legacies have been defined, individual awards won, money made, place in history pretty much solidified. But for the Heat and Pat Riley it’s the thrill of seeking back to back to back championships in South Beach that matters. Lebron, Three and Bosh are embarking on year 4, which will probably end up in the Finals, but yea we already know this. We know they need Wade healthy, especially in June, we know Bosh needs to find the nearest bench press, we know Lebron is “still getting better”, but can they fend off the hungry Pacers, Bulls and Nets in the East? They barely survived last season and one of these teams may have their number this year, then again, maybe not; last time I checked #6 still suited up in the black and red. Signing Greg Oden was a genius move by Riley, because if he’s even half of what he used to be it relieves a ton of defensive pressure off of Bosh and will bolster their defense at the hoop plus help out on the glass. If it doesn’t work and it’s the same old story with G.O., well then they’ll give small ball another try, it’s worked pretty well over the past three years. Mike Beasely is back in town, I can think of some people that are banking on this (literally), baskteball fans not really included in that bunch. Anything Beasely gives the Heat is a plus honestly, they don’t need him just as they don’t really need Oden but if they play like half of what they were drafted as then there will be another parade down Collins and Drake will be back in Miami for the 3-peat party at Story or wherever the new live club is at in Yami. The Heat take it easy this year with a calm 54-28 record.
Looking like he’ll be lucky to last till December
I really, really wish Danny Ferry would just chill out and let the Hawks take a year off already. We don’t want to see them win one game in the playoffs again. We really don’t like watching Al Horford dominate the paint (even though he has game). We don’t want to see Paul Millsap grab 8 rebounds a game. We don’t want to see Kyle Korver’s set shot in April. We like Jeff Teague but he gotta have one of the worst tapers in the NBA and we don’t want to see that zipping down the court on TNT in the spring. We don’t want to see Jeff Jenkins in a starting lineup when we’re struggling at our 9-5 desk jobs. I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. The Hawks are going to make the playoffs unfortunately, because I think the Pistons lineup looks retarded with two starting power forwards. They’ll go 42-40 and we will hate every minute of every game they play unless Jeff Teague disregards his teammates and goes for self, that would be the only saving grace for the Hawks. I don’t know what else to write about them, they’re like an average team on both sides of the ball, their coach is weak, and the best thing about Atlanta is Love and Hip Hop. F*** the Hawks yo.
Clipper game in Atlanta is soft
Michael Jeffrey Jordan can you please quit? I got family in Charlotte and they don’t even know what to root for son. That’s why the South is still football country, it’s Mike fault. When they become the Hornets again next season they gotta get rid of the dead weight holding them back. Has Mike ever made a good decision after the shot the Last Shot? Cody Zeller is alright but was he really worth a #4 pick? The draft was weak that’s the only thing that the Bobcat Hornets (as Bill Simmons likes to call them) can say to back this pick. Zeller and Country Al form a good 4/5 combo, it’s gonna be more buckets inside than a leaky roof though so that’s a wash. Kemba’s dead nice (highest praise you can have around here, better than MVP), he’s probably Swish’s favorite player collectively so it’s nothing but love there, but Gerald Henderson and that I Am Legend bald dome was irking me when I watched a pre season game the other night. G-Rock did just get paid though so hopefully he earns those checks, on the low they have a really good young backcourt with those two. MKG was trash last year, and if he doesn’t find a jumper he will be trash again. He also lost a one on one game to someone older, smaller, and slower than him, and I don’t care that his name is Michael Jordan that’s terrible foreshadowing for the rest of his career. Why the hell did they use a lottery pick on Bismack Biyombo a couple years ago? I’m gonna just believe that he’ll have a breakout season, Hoop Earring can’t be wrong 10 out of 10 times, it’s impossible. Why would Ramon Sessions come to Charlotte? N**** really only want these checks lol, I respect it though. The Bobcat Hornets go 27-55. Big trash bags.
Sad to see Uncle Pat in another lose-lose situation
Well here’s some more garbage for you to mull over. The “other” Florida team, the Magicians of Disney World. The Magic are wack but they still look better than the Bobcats it’s like any sneaker versus the Dwight Howard’s. If you know me you know that I was high on Oladipo but I don’t know anymore, I saw this clip of him singing Usher’s ‘U Got It Bad’ and I just don’t know anymore.
Shower vocals aside, Oladipo will probably be rookie of the year, as was stated earlier, this is a calm draft class and he’s going to get as much run as anyone else from the class. Tobias showed signs of being a serious player at the end of last season and I believe he’ll keep on building on that momentum to be Orlando’s best player. Jameer Nelson it’s been fun, it’s been real but your time in Orlando is up; I’m sure he doesn’t mind, with the state of rebuilding that the Magicians are in currently, same goes for Big Baby. “I used to be jealous of Arron Afflalo” -Kendrick Lamar (Black Boy Fly) I don’t know why but the first time I heard that I was weak. Afflalo is cool though, the Magicians want him to be a little more than he is and I don’t see that coming to fruition. The Magicians have Nikola Vucevic who is a monster on the boards and probably will be as household of name as you can be on a team that doesn’t win 30 games 2 years running. It’s no question that the Magic will be a bottom of the barrel team again, but they have some pieces (Oladipo, Harris, and Vucevic) which they can construct a formidable team in the future around. So while I have them at 22-50 this year, I still think that they will be more appealing to watch than the Hawks and better than the Bobcat Hornets even though this record says that they’re indeed the worst team in the NBA.
Swish Favorite: Kemba Walker
Rookie to Watch: Dennis Schroeder
Big Swish Money: Three
Young Breakout: Brad Beal
Most Washed Up: Michael Jordan