View Full Version : The NBA’s Weakest Division

09-02-2012, 10:56 AM
By Bill Ingram
Senior NBA Editor


On Wednesday in this space we took a look at the NBA’s toughest division. With the Southwest losing Yao Ming and Chris Paul while the Spurs continue to age and the Mavs lose even more of their championship core, the Atlantic now looks like the toughest division in the NBA.

On the flip side, we have a much more difficult call in determining which of the league’s divisions might be the worst. It is actually tempting to pick the Southwest, with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets likely playing for high lottery picks and losing a ton of games in the process. The thing is, the San Antonio Spurs will likely be a home court advantage team and the Memphis Grizzlies might be, as well. The Dallas Mavericks are something of a dark (blue) horse, as a lineup with a number of discarded players with something to prove could yield yet another 50-win season for Dirk Nowitzki and company.

No, the Southwest is no longer top dog, but it’s also not the bottom feeder.

It’s also tempting to go with the Central, where the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers could both be contenders, but the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers are all a significant step below. Still, there are enough young players and players with potential on all three of these teams to make them interesting, perhaps interesting enough for at least one of them to be in the race for the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed.

Scratch off the Central.

There is only one division in the NBA with three teams who are all but certain to miss the playoffs, and ironically it’s also the division with the defending NBA champs. Pound for pound, the Southeast Division is likely to be the worst in the NBA in 2012-13. The Miami HEAT will likely be even tougher with the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, and the Atlanta Hawks could very well be a better team with the pieces they were able to add in the way of the Joe Johnson trade. After that, however, there is a severely steep slide.

First and foremost, the Orlando Magic have gone from a perennial playoff team and championship hopeful to a lottery lock after trading Dwight Howard for young players and draft picks. The Magic are officially rebuilding, and the next step in their rebuilding process will be landing someone like Nerlens Noel or Cody Zeller to hold down the middle in the franchise’s new era. To get one of those players, the Magic will have to lose a lot of games. And they will.

Next up we have the Charlotte Bobcats, the worst team in the NBA last season. They were hoping that their seven-win season might be enough to land the Anthony Davis with the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, but the lottery gods weren’t kind and the Bobcats are still without their next franchise big man. Charlotte will win more than seven games, but they are still more likely to challenge Orlando for the East’s worst record than they are to push for a playoff spot.

Finally, we have the Washington Wizards. There’s a chance that the Wizards could be pretty good this season. They have certainly made some interesting upgrades with Emeka Okafor, Nene, Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal. On paper, John Wall has the best team around him that he’s had as a pro; the problem is, there isn’t much reason to believe that underachievers like Okafor and Nene will suddenly live up to their significant potential, especially without a great coach to help make it happen. If healthy, the Wizards will be better than last year, just not better enough to pull their division out of the NBA’s basement.

By all indications, the HEAT will have as many wins as the Bobcats, Magic and Wizards combined . . .and their division will still have more cumulative losses than any other division in the NBA.

09-02-2012, 10:58 AM
Southeast def excluding the Heat.

09-02-2012, 11:03 AM

At least that's what I think.

South East

09-02-2012, 06:21 PM
Here's my list of the divisions, ranked by talent:

1. Pacific
2. Northwest
3. Atlantic
4. Southwest
5. Southeast
6. Central

Golden State's potential rise makes me choose the Pacific. The Northwest has a contender, a playoff lock in Denver and a rising star in Minnesota. Nobody in the Atlantic is a contender, but there are three or four fairly good teams. The Southwest keeps producing, regardless of age. The Southeast is a complete drop-off this season after the Heat. And the Central just lost its contender for at least this season, although I'd say Indiana is still a top-4 team in the east.

09-02-2012, 06:58 PM
The D-League division is the worst IMO.

09-02-2012, 07:48 PM
SE Division.