NLJ’s 2020-2021 NBA Season Preview: Southeast Division

The NBA season begins on December 22. After an offseason in which we’ve seen contenders retool their rosters and star players change locations; this 2021 season could be one of the best ever. Here at No Limit Jumper, we’ve got you covered for the start of the season with our official 2021 NBA Season Preview. Join us as we take a look at each division and make predictions on how the 2021 season may shake out.

Next up: the Southeast Division

The South East Division is known for one of the weaker divisions in the league, but with a surprising off-season and draft, most of these teams got better and are looking to compete in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta Hawks

  • Last Season: 20-47, 14th in East, 5th in Southeast Division
  • Playoffs: N/A
  • Key Departures: Dewayne Dedmon, Khyrhi Thomas, Vince Carter, Allen Crabbe, Jeff Teague
  • New Additions: Danilo Gallinari, Boban Bogdanovic, Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn, Solomon Hill, Skylar Mays, Oneyka, Okongwu
  • Head Coach: Lloyd Pierce

Season Outlook

The Hawks really got their feet wet this off-season and added promising talent and wise vets to add to their two rising stars in Trae Young, and John Collins. This franchise went from dysfunctional to a possible playoff team in a matter of a month. 

Gallinari and Bogdanovic add to Atlanta’s offense as both are reliable shooters as they both shoot 38% from three and 40% from the field. Guys like Young and Rondo will put these two in solid positions to score throughout the season. 

A huge problem for Atlanta last season was their frontcourt. The frontcourt this year is turning into a solid pairing with Collins-Capela with Okongwu coming off the bench. Drafting Okongwu proved to be the right move because it fit exactly what Atlanta needed. 

A concern of mine heading into this season for Atlanta focuses on a bunch of guys who are more than capable to be in the starting lineup. Reddish, Huerter and Hunter will consistently be fighting for minutes as the Shooting Guard position is Uber deep. Not to mention they just signed sharpshooter Skylar Mays. 

Head Coach Lloyd Pierce reportedly stated that 1-12 had a lot left in the tank after day 2 of training camp which convinces me that this franchise is ready to be taken seriously and more importantly win. Travis Schlenk is making big moves along with adding former Pacers head coach Nate McMillan to Pierces staff (personally recommended by Pierce)

Guys are ready to compete at a high level and that’s the energy we are receiving from Atlanta heading into this season. 

Season Prediction

37 wins, 35 losses — 7th, or 8th Seed

Miami Heat

  • Last Season: 44-29 (3-5 in the bubble), 5th in East, 1st in Southeast Division
  • Playoffs: 14-7, L NBA Finals (vs LAL)
  • Key Departures: Derrick Jones, Solomon Hill
  • New Additions: Goran Dragic (Re-Signed), Meyers Leonard (Re-Signed), Udonis Haslem (Re-Signed), Mo Harkless (Trade)
  • Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra

Season Outlook

Last season, Miami had zero expectations to do anything and here we are talking about their finals run. Miami is the most disciplined and team-oriented team in the NBA and it all starts with Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. Pat Riley and Spo have been able to create ‘Heat Culture’ and ran with that mindset for years. In 2020 it once again is paying off. 

Resigning Dragic, Leonard, and Haslem ensures that they are ready to run it back and keep competing. With Jimmy Butler carrying the load offensively along with sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and rookie standout Tyler Herro, Miami’s offense is tough to maintain. That in Bam in the paint who is a point center and it checks off a lot that Miami didn’t have in the past. 

Once the Heat gets out on the break it’s all over. When you have all five guys on the floor crashing the glass and running the floor in sync it’s beautiful to watch. If you need tips on how to play as a team watch how well Miami moves the rock. They emphasize making the extra pass and the unselfishness is what drives this franchise as a whole. 

After much debate last year it’s safe to say this team lives and dies by Jimmy Butler. They’ve made him the poster boy of what Miami is all about. He is the true definition of a team player. Keeping Butler a vocal point lets him create for everyone. Being in the Heat has been reviving Butler’s career and is shaping Herro and Robinson into great players.  

Season Prediction:

46 wins, 26 losses

Charlotte Hornets

  • Last Season: 23-42, 9th in East, 3rd in Southeast Division
  • Playoffs: N/A
  • Key Departures: Nic Batum (Waived), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Waived), Marvin Williams (Retired)
  • New Additions: Gordon Hayward (Sign & Trade), LaMelo Ball (Drafted), Bismack Biyombo (Re-Signed
  • Head Coach: James Borrego

Season Outlook

The struggling Hornets have a lot to be thankful for as the media is finally talking about the franchise run by the goat Michael Jordan. Whether we agree or not Bringing on Gordon Hayward and drafting LaMelo are great steps in the right direction. This team is mixed with young talent and impactful vets all around. Do I think it’s good enough to make the playoffs? Maybe 

With Ball in position to be the next franchise center piece since Kemba Walker this season could go really well or really horrible. Putting all your cards out on the table for a guy like LaMelo might lead to some growing pains throughout the year. As every rookie it takes time to adjust, mesh with teammates, and figure out the system James Borrego wants to run. Pay close attention to how LaMelo operates this year. 

Hayward is coming off of a comeback season with Boston and provided solid offense for the Celtics as the season concluded. Despite the setback due to his injury and the media downplaying his game, Jordan paid him. That type of a contract has a lot of expectations attached to it. Will Hayward be Utah Jazz Hayward? Can he stay healthy? These are the main questions to have for the Hornets and if the wrong answer is the outcome it won’t be pretty in Charlotte.

Another positive is Devante Graham came off a career season averaging 18.2 PPG, 7.4 APG, and 3.4 RPG on 38% shooting. Compared to his rookie season this season was impressive. How well he will fit in alongside Hayward and Ball will be an interesting thing to watch for Charlotte moving forward.

Season Prediction

28 wins, 44 losses (at least the Hornets unis will be fresh)

Washington Wizards

  • Last Season: 25-47 (1-7 in the bubble), 10th in East, 4th in Southeast Division
  • Playoffs: N/A
  • Key Departures: John Wall (Traded)
  • New Additions: Russell Westbrook (Traded), Robin Lopez (Signed), Davis Bertans (Resigned)
  • Head Coach: Scott Brooks

Season Outlook

It’s been awhile since the Wizards have been relevant. Ever since John Wall got injured the team has never functioned the same even with superstar Bradley Beal. Pairing Beal with Westbrook is interesting and could potentially be one of the top back courts in the league if both can work well together.

According to multiple media resources the two love the thought of playing side by side as Beal stated “Westbrook is a true 1 and I’m a true 2 so it works out perfect”. 

Signing Davis Bertans to a big deal is one of the smartest things Washington has done in awhile. Having one of the best seasons of his career, Bertans shoots a healthy 42% from three averaging 15.4 points a game. Bertans is the perfect third option offensively and compliments Westbrook to a T. Bertans when spotting up shoots 52% from the field, 10% higher when coming off the dribble. If Bertans can adapt and be more aggressive off ball and be able to spot up, Washington can make a run at a playoff spot.

Moving forward this is a very important season for Rui Hachinura who averaged 13.6 PPG and 6.1 RPG. If he extends his rebounding numbers to 8/9 boards a game and can raise his point production to 16, then that alone will sperrafe Washington from a lot of teams. 

If The Wizards can get four guys averaging above double digits this season could quickly turn in their favor.

Season Outlook

36 wins, 36 losses

Orlando Magic

  • Last Season: 33-40 (3-5 in the bubble), 8th in East, 2nd in Southeast Division
  • Playoffs: 1-4, L First Round (vs MIL)
  • Key Departures: None
  • New Additions: Cole Anthony (Drafted), James Ennis III (Re-Signed), Dwayne Bacon (Signed), Gary Clark (Re-Signed)
  • Head Coach: Steve Clifford

Season Outlook

Orlando always performs above expectations, but since the Augustine era the Magic have been complacent at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They’ve been battling for a playoff spot this past season, but Orlando doesn’t have the talent to keep up with the rest of the league.

Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Markell’s Fultz, and Vucevic look great on paper. Where they struggle is coexisting with one another. We’ve seen many times where the Magic have been two steps behind a play or late to react on defense. Those problems keep persisting and thus the reason for their consistent downfall. 

Vucevic is the team’s only all star and Orlando might want to look at dealing him to test his value and rebuild with young talent. If the Magic were in the West they would be slot further behind than in the East.

Season Prediction

26 wins, 46 losses

The South East division got more competitive and whoever the top two place holders of that divisions will easily claim a playoff berth.

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One thought on “NLJ’s 2020-2021 NBA Season Preview: Southeast Division

  1. Poorly written article. It was hard to take you serious after you messed up the first prediction of the article by adding 10 extra games.

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