Another year, another NBA offseason dwindling down. Before we know it, media days and camp will be here, and the preseason will be tipping off. However, for now, the hottest topics are how all of the teams did this offseason in order to prepare themselves for this year. So, we will be breaking down each division in roundtable fashion, and we’re almost through the entire league. So far, we’ve done the Northwest Division, Southwest Division, Central Division and Pacific Division.
This week we will be assessing the Southeast Division which is composed of the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, and Charlotte Hornets. This week’s participants are…
Alex Fischbein: @thatkidfisch
Mike Hess: @Hessy_22
Ryan Hayes: @rphayes21
Kyle Allan: @kallan441
Martin Soaries: @marsoaries
Atlanta Hawks: C
Highest grade: B- (Alex Fischbein)
The Hawks lost Al Horford, who seemed like the perfect center for the Hawks rotation, but they did replace him with a Dwight Howard who is looking to prove himself. That could mean a very focused and impactful center. Dennis Schroder looks to make some noise now that he’s a starting PG, but they failed to really get a superstar while being in a superstar driven league.
Lowest grade: C- (Mike Hess)
The Hawks are running in place as the Cavaliers swept them in the playoffs again. They added Dwight Howard and should keep them in the push for home-court advantage in the playoffs with still a weak Eastern Conference. But they didn’t make up any ground on Cleveland this offseason. If anything, they lost ground on them. They didn’t do too much to get better.
Charlotte Hornets: B-
Highest grade: B (Mike Hess)
Charlotte needed to re-sign Nicolas Batum and the Hornets did that pretty quickly when the offseason started. They also managed to keep Marvin Williams which is a good veteran to have on your roster. Losing Jeremy Lin and Al Jefferson may hurt them though in the long run this season.
Lowest grade: C- (Ryan Hayes)
The Hornets re-signed Nicolas Batum who had a resurgent year in his first year in Charlotte. They lost Courtney Lee, Jeremy Lin, and Al Jefferson in free agency which will hurt their depth this upcoming season. Marco Belinelli was brought in which will help their shooting tremendously. Belinelli’s shooting will space out the floor for Kemba Walker. The Hornets will have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back. That will be a boost for them as well but they lost a lot this offseason and will need new guys to step up.
Miami Heat: D+
Highest grade: B- (Ryan Hayes)
The Miami Heat will not have Dwyane Wade on the floor this upcoming season. Seems weird to say but Wade was tired of getting the second fiddle by the organization that he gave three championships. The Heat re-signed Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson. They brought in Derrick Williams, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington to strengthen their bench. Chris Bosh is still up in the air as he’s not cleared for training camp. With the loss of Wade, Goran Dragic will be the key player for the Heat this upcoming season.
Lowest grade: D (Martin Soaries)
The Heat might turn out alright on the back end, but losing Dwyane Wade is simply an emphatic blow to the franchise and an enormous setback going into this season.
Orlando Magic: B-
Highest grade: B+ (Alex Fischbein)
Orlando upgraded their defense in the paint tenfold. The additions of Ibaka and Biyombo who will play alongside a great offensive talent in Vucevic. Losing Oladipo means there should be some more playing time for Mario Hezonja. The rotation should be very interesting, though, with all the big men and younger players.
Lowest grade: D (Kyle Allan)
With probably the most surprising trade on draft night the Magic received Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo and the Magic’s first-round pick. They also signed Bismack Biyombo to back up Ibaka. But Ibaka is on the last year of his contract, as well as Jodie Meeks who has injury problems. There is a lot of confusion in Orlando, but they are not going to be on the rise with this roster.
Washington Wizards: B-
Highest grade: B (Mike Hess)
The Wizards could not land Kevin Durant and bring him back home to the DMV, but they made some strong depth moves to improve their playoff chances in 2016-17. Trey Burke and Andrew Nicholson were good value pickups and Ian Mahinmi gives the Wizards flexibility in the front court.
Lowest grade: C- (Martin Soaries)
The Wizards have made noted improvements with more capable reserve additions — Ian Mahinmi, Trey Burke, and Andrew Nicholson — I think Nicholson particularly addresses their most pressing need for versatility in the front court, but not enough to evolve their team into a conference contender.