Capsule previews of the NBA's Southeast Division

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm •  Published: October 28, 2013

A look at the Southeast Division teams as they head into the 2013-14 season, in predicted order of finish:



LAST SEASON: 66-16, beat San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in NBA Finals.

STARTING FIVE: G Mario Chalmers (8.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apg), G Dwyane Wade (21.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.1 apg), F LeBron James (26.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 7.3 apg), F Shane Battier (6.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.0 apg), C Chris Bosh (16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.7 apg).

KEY ADDITIONS: C Greg Oden (free agent, Trail Blazers), F Michael Beasley (free agent, Suns), G Roger Mason Jr. (free agent, Pelicans).

KEY LOSS: G-F Mike Miller (free agent, Grizzlies).

COACH: Erik Spoelstra, sixth season with Heat and overall; 260-134.

EYES ON: Wade. He was one of only four players in the NBA to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists last season (James, Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook were the others). But knee problems in the playoffs raised questions about whether his game is declining, and Wade says one of his goals coming into this season is to silence doubters again.

OUTLOOK: James won his fourth MVP award last season and says he got better again this summer. That alone should make the Heat the undisputed favorites, even with a vastly improved Eastern Conference awaiting them. And the Heat say the looming summer-of-2014 contract decisions for James, Wade, Bosh and others won't affect anything this season, though if that changes, the quest for a third straight title will surely become more difficult.



LAST SEASON: 44-38, lost to Indiana Pacers 4-2 in first round.

STARTING FIVE: G Jeff Teague (14.6 ppg, 7.2 apg), G Kyle Korver (10.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.6 3-pointers per game), F DeMarre Carroll (4.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), F Paul Millsap (14.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.6 apg), C Al Horford (17.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.00 bpg).

KEY ADDITIONS: Millsap (free agent, Jazz), Carroll (free agent, Jazz), F Elton Brand (free agent, Mavericks), F-C Gustavo Ayon (free agent, Bucks), F James Johnson (free agent, Kings), C Pero Antic (free agent, Yugoslavia), PG Jared Cunningham (trade, Mavericks), G Royal Ivey (free agent, 76ers).

KEY LOSSES: F Josh Smith (free agent, Pistons), G Devin Harris (free agent, Mavericks), C Zaza Pachulia (free agent, Bucks), F Ivan Johnson (free agent), G DeShawn Stevenson (free agent), G Anthony Morrow (free agent, Pelicans), F Anthony Tolliver (free agent, Bobcats), C Johan Petro (free agent).

COACH: Mike Budenholzer, first season.

EYES ON: Guards Lou Williams and Dennis Schroder. Williams is returning from reconstructive surgery on his right knee in February and if healthy could be an important scoring boost. He was averaging 14.1 points through 39 games, including nine starts. Schroder is a rookie first-round pick from Germany who could be a surprise.

OUTLOOK: Horford and Teague are key returning players on a new-look roster in GM Danny Ferry's second season, his first with Budenholzer, the former longtime Spurs assistant. Millsap should help make up for loss of Smith's scoring and rebounding, but once again Horford will spend most of his minutes at center when he wishes he could play power forward. It may be difficult to match last season's sixth seed or even remain in playoff hunt.



LAST SEASON: 29-53, missed playoffs.

STARTING FIVE: G John Wall (18.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.6 apg), G Bradley Beal (13.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.4 apg), F Trevor Ariza (9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg), F Nene (12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.9 apg), C Emeka Okafor (9.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.2 apg).

KEY ADDITIONS: F Otto Porter (draft, Georgetown), F Al Harrington (free agent, Magic), G Eric Maynor (free agent, Trail Blazers), G Glen Rice Jr. (draft, D-League).

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