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What the Hell Happened in the Southeast Division?

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The Southeast had one major addition, but does he raise the temperature enough?

Jimmy Butler Introductory Press Conference Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

In the “What the Hell Happened in this division” series, we here at DBB tell you... what the hell happened elsewhere in the NBA. You know what, it’s better to show that tell, let’s dive in.

Miami Heat

In: Jimmy Butler, Meyers Leonard, Tyler Herro
Out: Josh Richardson, Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside

What the hell happened

I’ve been calling this team (only semi-derisively) “Jimmy Butler and the Butlerettes.” Is Jimmy Butler good enough, right now, to surround with role players and expect success? We saw how that looked in Minnesota, where he dragged Karl-Anthony Towns’ scrawny ass to the playoffs before forcing his way out of town.

Unfortunately, this Miami team doesn’t have an offensive talent like Karl-Anthony Towns. Hell, they don’t have an offensive talent like Andrew Wiggins.

So, with that in mind, will the 65-70 games you get of Jimmy Butler this season be enough on offense to power the Heat to the playoffs? I say yes, but remain skeptical. It’d help if Miami took the plunge for a second star.

Lastly, I wrote this about rookie Tyler Herro in July, and so far so good:

NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Hornets at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets

In: Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington
Out: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, Tony Parker

I live in North Carolina, so I get the Hornets’ games on cable. Most relevantly, that means two or three times a year, instead of George and Greg, I have to listen to the broadcast duo of Dell Curry (Steph’s Dad, as you are reminded incessantly) and Eric Collins (and formerly Stephanie Ready, who was amazing and knowledgeable and WOEFULLY under-leveraged, and who I am glad is now at TNT). Eric Collins is a positive force of nature, a typhoon of excitement, a lightning storm of cheer - as long as the Hornets are winning.

I really am concerned for Eric Collins’ well-being this season.

There is nothing to be positive about. There’s gonna come a game in January, against the Wizards or somebody, where Terry Rozier will take his 400th bad 18-foot pullup that clanks off the rim, and Eric Collins will collapse in on himself like a dying star.

NBA: Washington Wizards-Media Day Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards

In: Rui Hachimura, C.J. Miles, Isaiah Thomas, Davis Bertans, Mo Wagner
Out: Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Bobby Portis, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard

What the hell happened

Man, those ins and outs are... some names of NBA players. Woof.

Who is their second-best player? No, seriously, go look at their roster, and without any assurances regarding John Wall’s health, tell me who their second-best player is. It might well be Davis Bertans! That’s where the Wizards are, and that’s why the buzzards are hovering around Bradley Beal.

For his part, Beal, perhaps playing a little six-dimensional chess, has signed his extension in Washington. This might mean he wants to be a lifelong Wizard, or it could allow him to demand a trade eight months later. Get your money AND go ... elsewhere. Maybe not where you wanna go, but elsewhere. No, the grass isn’t always greener, but if you’re standing in a patch of dead grass ...

NBA: Preseason-Miami Heat at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic

In: Al Farouq-Aminu, Markelle Fultz (essentially)
Out: Timofey Mozgov’s ginormous contract

What the hell happened

I, personally, think the Orlando Magic are just being flat overrated - they beat up on a plethora of sub-.500 teams during their “hot” run to the playoffs, so a scheduling quirk is what their positive statistical projections are based on:

This is a John Hammond team through and through: All the defense-first, long-limbed, wing-sized wings you could ask for, none of who can get you a bucket with any consistency. Jon Isaac IS fairly terrifying when he unfurls that wingspan into an extension finish, though.

The big swing player for them is Markelle Fultz, who I know Steve Hinson is high on. For right now, the perimeter shooting still looks like a question mark, but the athleticism, driving ability, and defensive potential are all there. If Fultz can shoot enough to play, or replicate what he was doing in Philadelphia, where he could impact the game in transition or as an advantage score, then that alters the Magic’s ceiling dramatically into a team I would legitimately fear.

Lastly lot of guys had career years for Orlando, and they just barely squeaked into the playoffs. I expect regression from Nikola Vucevic (29, not a contract year anymore, shot better from 3 than he ever had in his life), Terrence Ross (takes a lot of tough shots, coming off his contract year, too), and D.J. Augustin (31 years old, hasn’t looked amazing in preseason, but going INTO his contract year).

NBA: Preseason-Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks

In: De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe, Jabari Parker, Chandler Parsons
Out: Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, Omari Spellman

What the hell happened

Atlanta is on everyone’s League Pass list because they got younger and probably more entertaining. Unfortunately, younger in the NBA usually also doesn’t mean “better.” They will lose an entertaining game where the score is in the 120’s, you’ll go “Oh, man, that was close” and then look up and realize that’s their eighth loss in their last 11 games or something like that.

Trae Young is really good, but don’t expect a linear progression (see: Tatum, Jayson; Mitchell, Donovan) from year 1 to year 2. Cam Reddish will put together a 2K Takeover-esque sequence, and then you’ll look up his stats and he’ll be slashing 42/34/80. That’s the life of a young team.

The biggest hole on their roster is their lack of a backup point guard. When Trae Young sits, or (god forbid) he gets injured, they will be in serious trouble. They have a lot of bad, expiring money (Chandler Parsons, Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe) which is why they’re such a threat in free agency this upcoming summer. But, yeah, just enjoy them for what they are - Young, Fun, and Dumb.