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NBA 2023 Offseason Grades: Southeast Division

NBA Southeast Division

NBA Southeast Division
Josh Richardson returned to the Miami Heat this offseason on a two-year minimum. (Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports)

NBA 2023 Offseason Grades: Southeast Division

It’s soooo close! The NBA offseason is effectively done and we’re almost upon the official start of the 2023-24 NBA season, when training camps open in about a week’s time. Today we continue our series grading each and every team on their offseason activities, as we cast our eye upon the Southeast Division today.

As always, we give a thankful nod to Hoopshype, whose diligence in collating NBA player movements makes it so easy for us writers.

In case you missed it, we’ve already assessed the Atlantic, Northwest, Central and Southwest divisions. We’ll take a look at the Pacific Division in a few days’ time.

Now let’s dive into our Southeast Division grades!

Atlanta Hawks: C+

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

Two years too late, but the Hawks finally found a trade partner to take John Collins. Instead of the haul of young talent and/or draft capital that Atlanta hoped to receive, they instead got a 2nd round pick and Rudy Gay, who is older than time itself. Staying with that theme, the primary free agency additions that came to Atlanta were the 62-year-old Patty Mills and Wes Matthews, 73.

In fairness to the Hawks, 1st round pick Bufkin looks like a player, but where does the ball-dominant combo guard fit on a team with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray?

Charlotte Hornets: B-

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

Look, this writer understands the rationale: LaMelo Ball is our franchise point guard; we back him in….but SCOOT HENDERSON WAS RIGHT THERE!!!

Let’s not pile in on Brandon Miller too much. He’s got legitimate star potential and his play demonstrates more than a hint of a young Paul George. He’s got an awfully long way to go, though.

The Hornets seemingly did well with their later picks. Smith was at one point projected to be a lottery pick – he’s a low-risk, high-reward player at 19-years-old. Nnaji and Bailey project to be solid role players in the league.

Charlotte also obtained a pair of young veterans in Hunter and Ntilikina. Neither should be more than depth pieces, though why not give those roles to young-ish players and see if you can rehabilitate their value a little?

Miami Heat: C

Major addition:

Major subtractions:

Clearly, the Heat hope that this grade is just a placeholder and that their off-season work is not yet complete. If Damian Lillard is brought to South Beach for something approximating the Tyler Herro-centric packages that have been oft-reported, then Miami’s grade is an instant A.

Alas, we can only assess what HAS happened and this off-season is “find out” part of the Heat’s recruiting model. Having given players like Strus and Vincent the platform to make themselves a career as pro ballers, they’ve been forced to let them go once they became too expensive.

Veterans Richardson and Bryant replace veterans Oladipo and Zeller – the dictionary definition of a lateral move.

Jaquez is a nice draft pick for a team that is in win-now mode.

Orlando Magic: C+

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

Orlando continued to stockpile young assets with the draft selections of Black and Howard. Both, though, were probably picked 5-10 picks before they should have been.

Black, if he can become at least a respectable shooter, has a chance at stardom. Howard, though, despite his NBA pedigree, will at best be Mike Miller. At worst? Doug McDermott. His jumper is, all caps–PURE–but it takes more than a sweet stroke to become a key player in the NBA.

Around their pair of lottery picks, the Magic brought in McClung, presumably to wow the crowds at G-League games, whilst granting Joe Ingles a nice little retirement nest egg.

Washington Wizards: B

Major additions:

Major subtractions:

When reports surfaced that new Washington general manager Michael Winger was going to be allowed to start a long, long overdue rebuild, skepticism was understandably rife. The Wizards, after all, are the poster boys for chasing mediocrity at all costs.

So far, though? So good.

Sure, the return for Beal was less than ideal, though there were mitigating circumstances around that situation. They sold as high as possible on Porzingis and, depending on Poole’s focus, might have gotten a steal in getting the young guard for the fossilised remains of Chris Paul. Tyus Jones finally gets his chance to be a full-time starter – another great move.

The team went all upside in nabbing Coulibaly long before most expected him to be taken whilst sweet-shooting big Vukcevic could prove a value pick if he can get stronger and play at least a little defense.

Former Utah draftee Butler and Australian combo guard DJ Vasiljevic (this guy can play) are worthy flyers in talent alone.

What do you think of our Southeast Division grades? How would you grade it? Let us know in the comments!

***

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