Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NBA Preview 2006-2007: Southeast Division

Click for each preview:
Awards and Playoffs

Each team is scored on a 1-10 scale based on its projected starting lineup, bench, head coach and general manager. The maximum score possible is 80.

Overall scores, brief summaries and franchise outlooks will predict how a team performs this upcoming season.

A final preview article will predict regular-season awards, playoff results and the eventual NBA champion.

Atlanta Hawks

C: Zaza Pachulia (6.5)
PF: Marvin Williams (7.5)
SF: Josh Childress (7)
SG: Joe Johnson (9)
PG: Speedy Claxton (7)
Bench: Shelden Williams, Josh Smith, Salim Stoudamire, Tyronn Lue (7)
Coach: Mike Woodson (6.5)
GM: Billy Kinght (3)
Overall: 53.5
Summary: Marvin Williams: blossoming All-Star or bust? Shelden Williams might start very soon, but he'll be undersized at center. Johnson returns to his natural position at SG. Claxton and Lue are barely passable at the point. Smith has yet to parlay his athleticism into starting minutes. Stoudamire may be the definition of instant offense.
Outlook: Who are we kidding? These are the freakin’ Hawks.

Charlotte Bobcats
C: Primoz Brezec (7)
PF: Emeka Okafur (8.5)
SF: Gerald Wallace (8)
SG: Adam Morrison (8)
PG: Raymond Felton (7.5)
Bench: Brevin Knight, Sean May, Jake Voshukl, Matt Carroll (6)
Coach: Bernie Bickerstaff (6.5)
GM: Bernie Bickerstaff (7.5)
Overall: 59
Summary: A young team that continues to take baby steps in the right direction. Okafur’s health is the top concern. Wallace is a defensive beast. The same thing can’t be said for Morrison, but his offensive arsenal should translate from the college game. Knight is good enough to start at PG for half the teams in the league.
Outlook: In a prime position to contend in 2007, if they pony up the dough.

Miami Heat
C: Shaquille O’Neal (10)
PF: Udonis Haslem (7.5)
SF: James Posey (8)
SG: Dwyane Wade (10)
PG: Jason Williams (8)
Bench: Antoine Walker, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Dorrell Wright (8.5)
Coach: Pat Riley (10)
GM: Randy Pfund (9.5)
Overall: 71.5
Summary: Not too many teams can say they have two game-changers like the defending champions have in O’Neil and Wade. Miami didn’t tinker with much and for good reason; this a powerful collection of talent and chemistry. They also happen to be coached by one of the game's all-time greats, who knows precisely how to get the most from his players.
Outlook: Repeat or bust.

Orlando Magic
C: Dwight Howard (9.5)
PF: Darko Milicic (7.5)
SF: Hedo Turkoglu (7.5)
SG: J.J. Redick (7.5)
PG: Jameer Nelson (8)
Bench: Carlos Arroyo, Trevor Ariza, Tony Battie, Keith Bogans, Travis Diener (7)
Coach: Brian Hill (8)
GM: Otis Smith (8.5)
Overall: 63.5
Summary: For all intent and purposes, Darko will be playing starting minutes, whether or not he or Battie begin the game at center. Injuries may unravel this year’s squad. The depth at PG is very strong. Ariza is an emerging defensive force. Howard must develop a mid-range game to become a truly elite player.
Outlook: The future looks bright, but can they win now?

Washington Wizards
C: Brendan Haywood (7.5)
PF: Antawn Jamison (8)
SF: Caron Butler (8)
SG: DeShawn Stevenson (6.5)
PG: Gilbert Arenas (9.5)
Bench: Antonio Daniels, Etan Thomas, Jarvis Hayes, Andray Blatche (6)
Coach: Eddie Jordan (8)
GM: Ernie Grunfeld (8)
Overall: 61.5
Summary: Agent Zero aka Arenas is among the game's most-feared guards, and that's not just because he's a little kooky. Stevenson was a bargain, and will provide good perimeter defense. Daniels had a miserable first year as a Wizard. The bench is terrible. Washington's best prospect, Blatche, suffered a gunshot would last year.
Outlook: The starting five will have to elevate its game for the Wizards to reach the postseason.

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