December 7, 2022 | 2:51 pm
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The Baseline: SE Division Preview with Scott Rafferty from the Sporting News

The beat goes on as The Baseline continues its tour of each NBA division. Up next we preview the Southeast Division with Scott Rafferty from the Sporting News and Upside Motor.

  • The Orlando Magic have a young talented roster with a disciplinarian in Scott Skiles as the coach. Can he lead the young core of Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon and Tobias Harris to the next phase in their development? Who’s the team go-to-guy? C.J. Watson and Andrew Nicholson will play important roles off the bench but what will become of Channing Frye? We debate the state of the Magic and quest for improvement.
  • It was a lost year for the renamed Charlotte Hornets. The Lance Stephenson experiment failed miserably and now the team will try their hand with Nicolas Batum. Offense was a problem for the team last year so key additions like Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lamb and Spencer Hawes were acquired to bolster their putrid scoring. Rookie Frank Kaminsky will also have a large role to play but all hopes for success still rest with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.
  • Depth was the biggest concern for the Miami Heat a season ago and they addressed that concern with the additions of veterans Gerald Green, Amar’e Stoudemire and returns of Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade questions if the team can maintain focus and health. We debate if Hassan Whiteside‘s adoration of himself will become a distraction as he plays for a contract next summer. Still this team on paper is one of the best in the East…where will it all lead?
  • The Wizards were many people’s pick to surprise in the east last year but they were bested by the Hawks. John Wall has reached en elite level but the same can’t be said about his backcourt mate Bradley Beal. This will be the year that determines if Beal is elite or just a solid compliment to Wall. Much is being made about the team’s focus to pace. Otto Porter should be the biggest benefactor as Randy Whitman looks to up the tempo but what will become of Nene and Marcin Gortat? Gary Neal and Jared Dudley will be the team’s primary options off the bench but rookie Kelly Oubre doesn’t have the look of a contributing member just yet.
  • Nobody expected the Atlanta Hawks to win 60 games a season ago and even less expect them to duplicate that success this season. With DeMarre Carroll now in Toronto the team will look for more production from Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway Jr. will be nice bench compliments but the play of Dennis Schroder is they key to a very productive second unit from a season ago. Scott ponders if the team will look to blow things up if last season’s success proves to be fleeting as many suspect it may be.

It’s another informative show full of candor and insight. Check it out.

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