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NBA Team Previews: Southeast Division Fantasy Breakdown

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Team Previews:

Atlanta Hawks

Expected starting lineup: 

PG: Trae Young

SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic

SF: De’Andre Hunter

PF: John Collins

C: Clint Capela

Fantasy Relevant Bench Players: Danillo Gallinari and Kevin Huerter.

Trae Young announced himself to the world in the playoffs last year. It’s clear he’s made the jump, and he’s somehow done it by shooting less threes than he had earlier in his career. They’ve locked up John Collins, and they’ve kept all their shooters. They’ll be even better this year with a healthy De’Andre Hunter. He’s the best defender on this team. There’s not much more to say. The Hawks are going to be able to score with anybody, and rely on Hunter to make a few stops. They’re a tier below the Nets and Bucks, but Trae Young is the kind of player that can elevate your team above their ceiling. Atlanta has a prosperous season ahead of them.

Sleepers: None. All of Atlanta’s talent is fairly hyped. You’re not going to see any of these players fall in the draft. At least none that you’ll want on your fantasy team.

Busts: None. Atlanta will go about 8 players deep, I assume. Each of those players will do their jobs. Trae does everything, Bogdan, Huerter, and Gallinari are shooters, and Collins and Capela are boards and paint points. I don’t foresee any of these players falling short of their expectations.

Charlotte Hornets

Expected starting lineup: 

PG: LaMelo Ball

SG: Terry Rozier

SF: Gordon Hayward

PF: P.J. Washington

C: Mason Plumlee

Fantasy Relevant Bench Players: Miles Bridges, Kelly Oubre, and Ish Smith.

MJ has finally built a team and has a Hall of Fame talent on his hands. LaMelo Ball almost carried this team to the playoffs after not starting at the beginning of the year, and missing Gordon Hayward towards the end of the year. Rozier can get you 30 on any night. You know what you’re getting from Bridges and Washington, but to have Kelly Oubre off the bench is a tremendous sign of the depth you have on your team. The Hornets are going to surprise a lot of people this year. They are firmly entrenched in the playoffs, in my opinion.

Sleepers: Kelly Oubre. Oubre’s stock is down after a poor shooting season in Golden State. That Golden State season is not who he is. He’s closer to the 2019 Phoenix player that averaged 19 PPG and 6 Rebs, than the player that 12 PPG and 5 Rebs in his last year with the Wizards. If Malik Monk’s minutes are going to Kelly Oubre, that’s simply an upgrade.

Busts: Mason Plumlee. His usage will be down from his Detroit days. That’s ok, but he’s not really draft-worthy, even in late rounds. There are better/cheaper options at center.

Miami Heat

Expected starting lineup: 

PG: Kyle Lowry

SG: Duncan Robinson

SF: Jimmy Butler

PF: P.J. Tucker

C: Bam Adebayo

Fantasy Relevant Bench Players: Herro, Morris, and Oladipo.

This is an incredibly exciting playoff team. Everybody will talk about the splash move of trading for Kyle Lowry, but in my eyes, it’s P.J. Tucker that changes everything for this team. Jimmy Butler almost won a championship for this team in the bubble but was gassed from having to guard every team’s best player. Then, last year, Butler struggled offensively because he had to do it all again. Assigning Tucker to guard every team’s best guard allows Jimmy Butler to distribute and score as necessary while saving energy on the defensive end. On top of that, they brought back Duncan Robinson, and have a championship point guard in Kyle Lowry. Adebayo will be better, and Oladipo is a former All-Star on a discount. Miami is loaded.

Sleepers: Tyler Herro. Don’t lose faith in a 3rd-year player, that scored 30+ in the playoffs in his rookie year. Sophomore slumps happen to the best of ’em. That’s all it was. Herro is a certified bucket, and with a defined role as a scorer, you can expect him to do just that. Draft late.

Busts: None. Unless you draft Oladipo in the middle rounds, then you shouldn’t expect any busts from this group. Roles are defined and usage rates will be spread around.

Orlando Magic

Expected starting lineup: 

PG: Markelle Fultz

SG: Jalen Suggs

SF: Terrence Ross

PF: Chuma Okeke

C: Wendell Carter Jr.

Fantasy Relevant Bench Players: Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton, and Mo Bamba.

Lottery Pick Team. That’s fine. They’re rebuilding and just shipped off their best player to Chicago. This season will be for evaluating Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, and Mo Bamba. They need to find out who their core is going to be going forward.

Sleepers: Wendell Carter Jr. is going to get starters minutes and if Nikola Vucevic’s usage rate is any indication of the slow-paced offense that Orlando wants to run, then Carter Jr. should eat.

Busts: Wendell Carter Jr. is going to get starters minutes and if Nikola Vucevic’s usage rate is any indication of the slow-paced offense that Orlando wants to run, then Carter Jr. should eat. If Carter falls by the wayside because the Magic want to rebrand into a fast-paced, three point shooting team, then Carter Jr. is going to be a bust, because you will have to spend mid-round draft capital on him.

Washington Wizards

Expected starting lineup: 

PG: Spencer Dinwiddie

SG: Bradley Beal

SF: Kyle Kuzma

PF: Rui Hachimura

C: Thomas Bryant

Fantasy Relevant Bench Players: Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Daniel Gafford, Corey Kispert, and Davis Bertans.

I don’t know what to make of my hometown team. I think I’m too close to them. Part of me wants to say that they’ll be competitive, but the logical side of me is telling me that you can’t trade a future Hall of Fame (Russell Westbrook) for a bunch of pieces that the trading partner didn’t even want. It’s not ideal. Further, Brad Beal has been in trade rumors constantly. At this point, I think he’s waiting to sign his supermax deal, only to demand a trade after. Regardless, Beal will continue to have all the usage on this team. I don’t foresee any playoff games in their future.

Sleepers: Thomas Bryant. Daniel Gafford made the most of his minutes last year and showed that he should be a piece of the future for Washington. However, the only reason he was able to do that was that Thomas Bryant got hurt. He was giving defenses 19 PPG and 10 Rebs per 36 minutes before his injury. If he returns to form, then he’s a borderline All-Star.

Busts: Daniel Gafford. I think Gafford goes back to a reserve role on this team. Bryant is forgotten, but he’ll remind people he exists this season. Gafford is going to have to be drafted in the middle rounds after his performance at the end of the season, but he probably returns late-round value.

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