2011-2012 NBA Southeast Division Odds and Predictions – Favorites, Contenders and Sleepers to Win the NBA Southeast Division: The Southeast Division was arguably the deepest in the Eastern Conference last season. Three teams made the playoffs, and all three were among the top five seeds. Not to mention the fact that the Miami Heat won the division and went on to win the conference. The Southeast was the only division in the East to boast a pair of teams that won 50 or more games as well as four teams that won 34 or more games. At the very least, the division has to be considered competitive.

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2011-2012 NBA Southeast Division Odds and Preview

  1. Miami Heat (58-24 last season)

What began as the most-hyped team in NBA history ended with a disappointing loss in the NBA Finals. That being said, a team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh is going to be a perennial contender for the championship, and the Heat should own the Southeast Division for the foreseeable future. The trio should only get better as they develop chemistry and as the front office signs additional role player. For Miami, it is going to be championship or bust every year.

  1. Orlando Magic (52-30 last season)

Last year’s multi-player trade didn’t have the impact Orlando was hoping for, and the season ended with a first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Despite the early exit, the Magic are still easily the second-best team in the Atlantic Division as long as center Dwight Howard is in town. Howard is consistently among the frontrunners for MVP honors, and he has been named Defensive Player of the Year three years in a row. Orlando’s roster is essentially Howard surrounded by 3-point gunners, and while the system has worked well, the Magic will crumble if trade rumors regarding Howard become reality. Without Howard, Orlando could easily miss the playoffs.

  1. Atlanta Hawks (44-38 last season)

Stagnant is the most appropriate way to describe the Hawks the last few seasons. Atlanta has consistently made the playoffs, but the team has been unable to get past the second round. Atlanta’s core of Al Horford, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson are solid, but the lack of a true point guard remains the Hawks’ biggest weakness. Not to rub salt in the wound, but the decision to draft Marvin Williams ahead of Chris Paul is still haunting the Hawks. At the end of the day, Atlanta is probably a center and a point guard away from being able to overtake the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. The current roster should return the franchise to the postseason, but another early exit is likely in order.

  1. Washington Wizards (23-59 last season)

Assuming point guard John Wall can stay healthy, the Wizards should begin to show progress this season. The road woes that plagued the team last season should get better as the roster gains experience, and Wall’s injury opened the door for some other players to step up. Andray Blatche and Nick Young are two emerging scorers, and rookie Jan Vesely is an NBA-ready foreign prospect. Fellow rookie Chris Singleton could be the X-factor this season. He was the top on-ball defender in the draft this season and will provide a defensive presence the Wizards were lacking a year ago.

  1. Charlotte Bobcats (34-48 last season)

There are a lot of question marks up and down the Bobcats’ roster this season. Can D.J. Augustin finally limit the turnovers at the point guard spot? Will Tyrus Thomas’ extreme athleticism ever translate into being a productive player? How long will it take rookie Bismack Biyombo to develop an offensive game? Fellow rookie Kemba Walker will make an immediate impact as a scoring threat and a leader, but Charlotte simply has too many projects to compete in the Southeast Division this season. It is looking like a transition year as the franchise begins to build around its two rookies, while figuring out which players to keep on the roster.

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