The Whiteboard: NBA’s Southeast Division is going to be awful

Pretty much all of the NBA’s divisions have a dud team, but the Southeast Division could have five this season.

There was at least one non-playoff team in every single NBA division last season, and almost all of them had one team that really deserved to miss out. The only exception was the Northwest Division, which saw the Denver Nuggets miss out after losing a win-or-go-home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on the final night of the 2017-18.

Otherwise, though, every division has a stinker. The Southeast Division goes above and beyond — or is it below and behind? — that standard. The Miami Heat were the best Southeast team last season, and every team in the Northwest had more wins than the Heat did.

Every other division aside from the Pacific, which seems like somewhat of an outlier considering those teams have to get curbstombed by the Golden State Warriors so often, had at least two teams better than the best Southeast team last season. That gulf could actually grow this time around.

The Heat and the Washington Wizards are the only two somewhat competent teams in the Southeast. The Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks will all be bad. If they get a few bad breaks, the Heat and Wizards could join their countrymen at the bottom of the East.

Miami seems to always be dealing with some sort of injury problems, and a decline from Goran Dragic could seriously hamper the Heat. On the Washington side of things, John Wall not getting back to the height of his powers would be rough. Even if Wall is great, Dwight Howard will probably do his usual thing and annihilate the locker room dynamic like he’s the meteor that ended the dinosaurs.

If one or both of those things, or some combination of other unforeseen things happens, this Southeast division will end up being the SouthLeast for the 2018-19 NBA season.

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