NBA Futures – Southeast Division

Tyler Herro has my bet for sixth man of the year (+1000). Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Favorite – Miami Heat (-150)

The Miami Heat are coming off another tremendous season. The Heat were the best team in the East in the regular season, and they were just a game shy of making the Finals. It’s a finish that will have fans groaning, as Erik Spoelstra’s quest for a ring without LeBron continues.

After the year they had, Miami did not need to do much in the offseason. However, they did less than nothing. Their roster is slightly worse as Miami let PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris walk, and their only additions were rookies. Morris isn’t much of a loss, but Tucker’s missing presence will certainly be felt. Ultimately this is nothing too detrimental, and they can always add a piece at the deadline if they need it.

The Heat are front runners in the East, and it should be them or Boston in the Finals. So while a division title is inadvisable with a negative payout, a bet to win the East may be worth it.

Miami Over 48.5 Wins (-110) & Eastern Conference Champion (+900)


A Real Threat – Atlanta Hawks (+145)

The Hawks were bounced in the first round of the playoff at the hand of the Miami Heat — gone in five games. It was a sad follow-up to their Conference Finals appearance in the year prior.

Atlanta made quite a few changes in the offseason, but none that make them a title contender.

The Hawks traded Danilo Gallinari and Kevin Hunter, and they lost sixth-man legend Lou Williams to free agency. The trading of Gallinari did result in All-Star Dejounte Murray, who should pair nicely with Trae Young.

Atlanta received Justin Holiday in exchange for Hunter, and by trading for Justin Holiday, his brother Aaron signed with the team. The Holiday brothers could be solid contributors coming off the bench.

Murray and Young round out the starting five with De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, and Clint Capela. It’s a solid starting five, but it doesn’t carry the juice to compete with the rest of the East.

The Hawks have depth which makes them dangerous in the regular season, they could make a run at the division title, but bettors shouldn’t expect much out of them come playoff time.

Atlanta Under 45.5 Wins (+110)
LaMelo Ball has great odds for Most Improved Player (+3200). Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

My Pick – Charlotte Hornets (+1400)

Jordan may have finally built something to be proud of down in the Tar Heel State. LaMelo Ball is looking like the best Hornets’ draftee since Chris Paul.

After winning Rookie of the Year, LaMelo improved in his sophomore year, making the All-Star team. He has the makings of a perennial superstar and could lead this franchise to something great.

The Hornets did take a significant loss in the offseason with Miles Bridges. He faces legal trouble, and as a result, he was not resigned. Dennis Smith Jr. will take Birdges’ slot in the starting five.

Charlotte also lost Montrezl Harrell to free agency, but they are hoping Mark Williams, who they drafted 15th overall from Duke, can replace him off the bench.

As I said, this team is building something solid, and if LaMelo can continue improving, they will become a threat in the East. A team like this will give their all in the regular season, LaMelo will play as many games as he can, and a division title for this team is worth throwing a few bucks on, given the payout.

Charlotte Over 33.5 Wins (+100)
If you like a longshot, Kristaps Porzingis has (+49000) odds to win MVP. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Outside Shot – Washington Wizards (+3000)

This team had next to nothing last season, so they made some moves at the trade deadline last year and took advantage of free agency to build something respectable.

Washington let Raulzinho Neto and Tomas Satoransky walk in free agency, and they traded Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Denver for Monte Morris and Will Barton.

Having added Kristaps Porziņģis at the deadline last season, he rounds out the starting five with Monte Morris, Bradley Beal, Will Barton, and Kyle Kuzma.

There is some serious talent on this team, and if they can stay healthy and play well together, they can make some noise in the Eastern Conference. It’s a long shot, but I’m willing to risk $3.33 to win $100. Their win total also makes for an easy play.

Washington Over 35.5 Wins (+100)

Orlando Magic (+16000)

If insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, throw the Magic in the looney bin.

Robin Lopez was the only player of note who will not be returning to the team this season, and the Magic’s only additions are rookies.

Paolo Banchero, drafted number 1 overall, should be fun to watch, but he needs development. He is not the generational talent that will take this team from worst to first.

The Magic were the worst in the East last year, and they’ll have an opportunity to hold the number 1 draft pick again next year. Who knows, though, maybe Banchero and whoever they draft next year will be the next Shaq and Penny.

Orlando Under 26.5 Wins (-105)


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