The start of the 2019-20 campaign is upon us that has brought forth plenty of excitement around the NBA. Each team has a fresh start to make a run towards the playoffs and possibly much further than that. Although there are certain teams already pegged as the favorites to win their respective divisions in the Eastern Conference, here are three teams that could change that.
The Hawks have hit a bit of a rut with their current playoff drought, but the franchise has fully embraced the rebuilding mode with their young core group leading the charge.
Atlanta has put together a squad that is full of promising talent. Trae Young is coming off a strong rookie campaign, where he showcased his ability to playmake as a passer while improving as a scorer as the year wore on.
Meanwhile, their most prominent bright spot was the play of big man John Collins, who took his game to the next level in his second campaign. Collins averaged a near double-double with 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds on 56.0 percent shooting from the floor. He joined Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley to put up those numbers in their second season.
The Hawks also added rookies Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter to the mix in this year’s draft that only adds more spark to their roster. There is plenty of room for growth, but Atlanta has the pieces in place to become something special down the line.
Coming off their most successful campaign in the last several years, the Nets had quite an eventful summer that changed things up significantly on their roster.
D’Angelo Russell is no longer heading the charge as offseason addition All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will take up that mantle. The Nets also landed Kevin Durant, but with him out for the season; it shifts much of the offensive responsibility to the rest of the roster.
Brooklyn does play in a tough division with the likes of the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, but they have pieced together a promising roster. Irving will be the leading scorer with Durant out, but they have several capable offensive options alongside him, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, and Caris LeVert.
Much of their success this upcoming season will depend on the development of their young talent. But the possibility of making a run for the Atlantic division title is certainly in the picture.
Like the Nets, the Heat also went through some notable changes to their roster this that saw them bring their own star power aboard with All-Star forward Jimmy Butler.
Miami saw Dwyane Wade call it a career, but the team has rebooted with some incoming talent. Butler will lead the way offensively as their primary scoring option and playmaker with the ball in his hands.
The Heat have also added a promising rookie guard Tyler Herro, who could become one of their leading offensive factors. Meanwhile, the team is hoping that big man Bam Adebayo can build off his breakout campaign and take another leap forward in his development.
Miami has some solid veteran pieces in the mix with Butler, Goran Dragic, and Kelly Olynyk, but their level of success next season will depend on the contributions they get from their young talent in Herro, Adebayo, and Justise Winslow. The door looks to be wide open in the Southeast division with their primary competition being the Hawks and Orlando Magic, which saw them finish just above the .500 mark to win the division.
The opportunity is there for them to move back atop the Southeast division.