Welcome to our third installment of ‘Season Previews’ where our experts spend hours (sometimes days/weeks) researching the best and worst possible outcomes for each NBA team. They also crown the coveted ‘breakout star’ from each squad because we know what’s really important. Today we are wrapping up the Eastern Conference by examining the delicate Southeast Division.
The Southeast Division
The Atlanta Hawks
Best Case Scenario: Dennis Schroder and Pero Antic star in NCIS: Atlanta.
Worst Case Scencario: The Atlanta Hawks get bought and announce they’re moving the team to the suburbs with the Braves.
Breakout Star: John Jenkins. Only because we have the same alma mater.
Best Case Scenario: The basketball gods allow Al Horford to remain in one piece.
Worst Case Scenario: The Adorno Culture Industry that runs the Hawks just might crush Horford into a million Pero Antics and Mike Muscalas.
Breakout Star: Bazemore isn’t just a Hawk. He’s Red Bull. He gives us wings.
Best Case Scenario: Everything just gels. They look like an NBA2K team when you do My Career mode and it’s like year 2025. This team looks like weird CPU players with weird accessories.
Worst Case Scenario: Owner and GM get caught making terribly racist comments. I can’t stop typing or lord please make me stop typing.
The Charlotte Hornets
Best Case Scenario: People make those shirts with ampersands, you know like Lance&Al&Kemba&MKG. No, Marvin Williams doesn’t get on the shirt. Maybe P.J. Hairston, though?
Worst Case Scenario: Since Marvin Williams is back in Carolina, he does a full-on Sean May impression.
Breakout Star: Jeffrey Taylor. Only because we have the same alma mater.
Best Case Scenario: Lance Stephenson is the leader. It’s going to be awesome.
Worst Case Scenario: Lance Stephenson is the leader. It’s going to be awesome.
Breakout Star: Purple and teal breaks out from the Phantom Zone.
Best Case Scenario: Announcers keep saying “And we are back with the Charlotte Bob-errrrr Hornets!”
Worst Case Scenario: They lose some of their games and Jordan is fed up and decides to come back and play wait a minute this might be best case scenario….
Breakout Star: BORN READY
The Miami Heat
Best Case Scenario: LeBron remembers how cold it is in Cleveland.
Worst Case Scenario: Chris Bosh claims credit for making the Raptors a “championship contender.”
Breakout Star: Shawne Williams. Because there’s still time to NOT be a bust.
Best Case Scenario: Josh McRoberts wins over the hearts and minds.
Worst Case Scenario: Any further reduction of Dwyane Wade as a basketball player.
Breakout Star: I want it to be Danny Granger, but I’ll settle for Chris Bosh, but only if it’s Chris Bosh the computer programmer. I want him to revamp Number Munchers.
Best Case Scenario: Deng provides some great defense and a lot of offense and a Wade/Bosh two-man game is good enough in a weak Eastern Conference. Also they go eat at Prime 112 a lot. (I have no idea what that place is I just wanted to sound cool)
Worst Case Scenario: The Heat realize that losing the best basketball player on the planet is a bad thing.
The Orlando Magic
Best Case Scenario: Elfrid Payton to Aaron Gordon is the hipster version of Chris Paul to Blake Griffin.
Worst Case Scenario: Victor Oladipo to Andrew Nicholson actually happens.
Breakout Star: Channing Frye. He was Ryan Anderson before Ryan Anderson was Ryan Anderson, except now everyone thinks he’s post-Ryan Anderson.
Best Case Scenario: By the end of the season, NBA fans can name at least two of the team’s starters.
Worst Case Scenario: The only recognizable starter is that guy who may have played for that school where Bobby Knight threw the chair. You know, that guy I’m talkin’ about. He plays basketball. He’s like not that tall.
Breakout Star: Anyone in an Orlando uniform, literally, is a potential breakout star.
Best Case Scenario: Shaq loses a bet with Barkley and has to come back and play one game for the Magic. Penny happens to be hanging out around the arena. They roll one last time together. It goes ok.
Worst Case Scenario: First day of training camp, Aaron Gordon and Ben Gordon are joking around. Aaron says “We’re like brothers from different mothers!!!” Ben takes offense. The season starts off on the wrong foot.
Breakout Star: Orlando’s GM, Rob Hennigan. Please follow him on twitter @orlandogmrob
Dribble da rock!! #basketball
— Rob Hennigan (@OrlandoGMRob) August 3, 2014
The Washington Wizards
Best Case Scenario: Kevin Durant comes back from his foot fracture and actually starts playing with the Wizards.
Worst Case Scenario: Rasual Butler and Drew Gooden get their names on an ampersand shirt.
Breakout Star: Otto Porter, Jr. Because there’s still time to NOT be a bust.
Best Case Scenario: You probably haven’t heard this before, but the Wizards could be sleepers in the East, after the Cavs and the Bulls and some other teams that people may or may not be picking.
Worst Case Scenario: Sleeper is also a term used by several philosophers and cultural theorists for passive individuals in society who are unable to transcend their ongoing state of mediocrity. I guess the Wizards could be that kind of sleeper.
Breakout Star: It’s gotta be one of the Juniors, either Otto or Glen, whichever one has the nerve to subtly leave his shoes or his bag in Paul Pierce’s path. Otherwise, the breakout star is Paul Pierce for keeping all players under 40 from getting minutes.
(Quick Thing: It’s weird the Magic and Wizards are in the same division. You’d think they would cancel each other out. Also it’s weird the NBA still has divisions.)
Best Case Scenario: Like they could/should win this division right? Thats a great starting 5. Why don’t I believe they are going to be good- I mean they should be good- shouldn’t they? Oh heavens….
Worst Case Scenario: Wall and Pierce don’t mesh and Blair ends up starting. Like they will probably start Blair at some point and they know its a bad idea but they won’t be able to help themselves.
Breakout Star: Obama. The Wizards are going to be pretty fun this year so what’s the over/under of games Obama attends. I bet its 2.5 and I would take the over.