The 2021-22 NBA common season is about to tip off on Oct. 19 and within the weeks main as much as Opening Night time, we’re previewing every division within the NBA.
Right here, yow will discover projected win totals, predictions on the most effective participant and greatest rookie, underneath the radar storylines to observe and a daring prediction among the many 5 groups.
First up… the Southeast Division.
2021-22 NBA season preview: Southeast Division
Projected win totals
Over/underneath win totals supplied by Motion Community .
Miami Warmth: 48.5 wins
Atlanta Hawks: 46.5 wins
Charlotte Hornets: 37.5 wins
Washington Wizards: 34.5
Orlando Magic: 22.5
Greatest participant: Jimmy Butler
The choice wasn’t simple, however Butler is the most effective participant within the Southeast Division.
The 32-year-old established that title throughout Miami’s run to the 2020 NBA Finals, during which Butler elevated his recreation to a degree we had by no means seen earlier than, battling backwards and forwards with LeBron James on the league’s largest stage. Going for a 40-point triple-double and 35-point triple-double on the Finals stage, Butler carried a shorthanded Warmth staff to some hard-fought victories, making his case to be thought of as among the best gamers within the NBA.
Off of the shortest offseason in American skilled sports activities historical past, Butler was neglected as an All-Star in 2020-21 due to video games missed to damage on the time of voting. And but, he nonetheless had among the best seasons of his profession, averaging 21.5 factors to go along with career-highs of seven.1 assists, 6.9 rebounds and a league-leading 2.1 steals per recreation.
Butler was rewarded with a spot on the All-NBA Third Crew and All-Defensive Second Crew for his efforts.
Star guards Trae Younger and Bradley Beal actually problem Butler’s title of Greatest Participant within the Southeast Division, however neither edge Miami’s franchise participant. Younger made a powerful case with a formidable playoff run of his personal final season, averaging 28.8 factors and 9.5 assists per recreation to guide the Atlanta Hawks to the Jap Convention Finals, and he could overtake the “greatest participant within the division” title very quickly. Beal’s case is constructed round his elite scoring potential, averaging over 30 factors per recreation in every of the final two seasons.
However, for now, Butler nonetheless sits atop the throne because the division’s greatest participant.
Greatest rookie: Jalen Suggs
This one was a no brainer: Suggs is the most effective rookie within the Southeast Division.
The Gonzaga product will make a powerful run at 2022 Rookie of the 12 months as he is handed the keys to the Orlando Magic’s franchise. Suggs is every part you would ask for in a ground common and chief, carrying himself with poise effectively past his age of 20 years. His utilization fee needs to be by means of the roof from the get-go, stuffing the stat sheet for a Magic staff that’s amidst a rebuilding section. After being handed on 4 occasions within the 2021 NBA Draft, Suggs will play with a chip on his shoulder as an final competitor with a knack for successful at each stage of his profession up to now.
Different rookies price mentioning on this division embrace Suggs’ Gonzaga teammate Corey Kispert, who might be a sharpshooter for the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets’ rookie tandem of James Bouknight and Kai Jones, who will certainly produce a handful of highlights this season, and Atlanta Hawks ahead Jalen Johnson, who had a stellar Summer season League that means the Jap Convention runner-ups could have discovered a steal with the twentieth decide.
Below the radar storyline: Are the Hawks nonetheless the most effective staff within the division?
Virtually all of the conversations surrounding the Southeast Division this offseason revolve across the Warmth and their acquisition of Lowry. Bringing within the six-time All-Star and one-time NBA champion elevates Miami to title contender standing, and the belief is that they are going to get again to being one of many three or 4 greatest groups within the Jap Convention this season.
However what in regards to the reigning division champion Hawks, who misplaced within the Jap Convention Finals final season?
Atlanta’s roster did not see a lot change, because it returns each key participant from their 2020-21 rotation. With Younger, John Collins and Clint Capela locked up long-term, the Hawks have their core for the current and future in three gamers who all stepped up through the staff’s playoff run final season. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari will begin the season wholesome, one thing that could not be stated final yr.
Kevin Huerter is poised for an additional large position off the bench after a breakout postseason. Lou Williams and newly-signed Delon Wright present extra backcourt depth. De’Andre Hunter is making good progress to return from the knee damage that saved him out for almost all of final yr and Cam Reddish ought to proceed enhance in his third yr within the league. So as to add to all of that depth, rookie ahead Johnson seemed able to making an instantaneous influence based mostly on his play through the NBA Summer season League.
The Hawks are as deep as any staff within the NBA and so they aren’t simply going to roll over and hand the title of greatest staff within the division to Miami. It should be a canine battle for the Southeast Division title this season.
Daring prediction: LaMelo Ball might be an All-Star
While you assume guards within the Jap Convention, you may consider James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Trae Younger, Jaylen Brown, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, Kyle Lowry and Jrue Vacation.
It is no simple process to beat out the better majority of these guards for a spot on the All-Star staff, however within the second yr of his profession, Ball will just do that.
The reigning Rookie of the 12 months was higher than marketed in his first NBA season, placing all doubts to relaxation. At 19, Ball grew to become the one teenager in NBA historical past to common at the very least 15 factors, six assists and 6 in a season. Whereas standout gamers like Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Penny Hardaway, Chris Paul, Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons additionally did in order rookies, none of them have been of their teenagers once they achieved the feat.
Even compared to all the league – not simply rookies – Ball nonetheless set himself aside. The one gamers to common 15 factors, six assists and 5 rebounds whereas taking pictures at the very least 35 % from 3 final season have been Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, James Harden, LeBron James, Julius Randle, Lowry and Ball.
On Jan. 10, Ball grew to become the youngest participant in NBA historical past to file a triple-double. When he took over full-time place to begin guard duties, the Hornets surged into the playoff image to land a spot within the Play-In Event.
With a yr of expertise underneath his belt and a extra gifted roster round him, Ball will shine in his highly-anticipated sophomore season. If he can surpass his averages from final yr and the Hornets are within the playoff image once more this season, Ball might be rewarded with an All-Star bid in his second yr.
E book it.