I hope you’re having a terrific start to your week. Between the full slate of NFL action and the pure brilliance displayed throughout the start of the MLB playoffs, I really haven’t had the energy to focus on the NBA. Luckily for you, I caught my second wind and I’m ready to go.
Today, we’re going to head south down the East Coast and explore the over/under win totals for our nation’s most backwards thinking region: the Southeast Division.
Buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
Miami Heat: Over 61.5 Wins
2012-2013 Season: 66-16
While many gamblers might be thinking that they are chasing Miami at a price like this, I’m trying to be a bit contrarian. Whereas the health of Dwyane Wade and the emergence of the Nets and Pacers in the Eastern Conference are serious concerns, Miami is better than they were last year. How could a team that’s won two titles in a row keep getting better? By buying lotto tickets in Greg Oden and Michael Beasley, the Heat might have found long-term solutions for some of the organization’s glaring holes. Honestly, if one of these players pan out, the rest of the league is in trouble. Coupled with the fact that Chris Bosh is playing for a new contract, I’m a buyer at this level. Cue the violin for Bulls fans…
Atlanta Hawks: Over 39.5 Wins
2012-2013 Season: 44-38
In my estimation, this obscenely-low figure is trying to trap novice basketball fans who wrote off Atlanta when Josh Smith skipped for Motown. While Smith is a good player, I’d contend that the Hawks actually improved this season. No longer having to watch J-Smoove chucking clanks from the perimeter will be a welcome sight for Atlanta basketball fans. Enter Paul Millsap, one of the league’s most underrated big men. The combination of Millsap and Horford in the front court is the best in the Conference. Coupled with the continued development of Jeff Teague and the return of Sweet Lou Williams, I think this is easy money..
Charlotte Bobcats: Under 27.5 Wins
2012-2013 Season: 21-61
As a rational investor, I couldn’t possibly catch a falling knife and buy into what the Bobcats are doing. In Wall Street, a falling knife is a stock chart that keeps on heading further south. Often times, aggressive/reckless traders will gamble on calling the bottom. With Michael Jordan still in control, I’d reckon that this puppy still has legs down. While the Bobcats do feature the likes of Big Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, they don’t have much of anything after that. If I’m a Charlotte restaurant owner, know that Big Al is hungry and he’s got a thick wad of cash. Think Boris Diaw. After a rough, rookie year, it remains to be seen if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has got the goods. Throw in the fact that the Bobcats invested in a Hoosier and you see why I think the Bobcats are in for a rough year.
Orlando Magic: Under 24 Wins
2012-2013 Season: 20-62
Albeit 24 wins is cutting it close, my gut is telling me this team is serious about Riggin’ for Wiggins. Unlike many of the other “pretenders” in the Eastern Conference, they’ve got a realistic shot of doing it if they serious look at Victor Oladipo at point guard. Nevertheless, I like what Orlando is doing on a macro-economic level. Over the past 24 months, they’ve accumulated young talent up and down the roster. Magic GM Rob Hennigan drafted Mo Harkless, Andrew Nicholson and Oladipo, while looting Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris from the Sixers and Bucks respectfully. Having said this, Disney World will be my first destination to venture to when I head down to Central Florida. That is, until at least 2015…
Washington Wizards: Over 38.5 Wins
2012-2013 Season: 29-53
To tell you the truth, I was lukewarm on this lipsticked pig just a couple of days ago. Then, the O/U total dropped from 41.5 to 38.5 wins. While the price activity is telling me that something is clearly wrong in our Nation’s Capital (both basketball related and unrelated), I’m beginning to believe I gotta scoop up these cheap “shares.” While the notion of Kevin Seraphin and a washed up Nene manning the interior makes me nauseous, I can’t pass up the upside of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The tandem should be able to score a ton of points in transition against a feeble Eastern Conference. In terms of sleepers, look for Martell Webster to bury Trevor Ariza and Otto Porter on the pine early on.
As a disclaimer for my audience, I just want to reiterate I wouldn’t wager my first-born on any specific pick. Perhaps the league’s most mediocre division, you never know who will surprise and who will disappoint. My job is to sort throughout the B.S. and present you the facts. If I had to pick a lock in the division, I’d go with ATL. Nevertheless, there are times where the best investments are the ones that are never made.