NBA Draft 2020: Southeast Division Team Needs

Story posted November 15, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

The teams in the NBA’s Southeast Division have an opportunity to draft potential game changers.

All the teams in this division fall into the top 20 draft picks this year, three of them in the top ten. The Charlotte Hornets have the highest pick this year, as they grab the number three spot in the lottery.

As the draft slowly approaches, here are what the teams in the Southeast Division need to improve their rosters.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets ended their season with a 23-42 record, leaving them in third place of the division lead. Fans saw glimpses of promise from point guard Devonte Graham.

Graham led the team with 18.2 points per game, 7.5 assists per game, and 1.0 steals per game. Along with Graham, players like Miles Bridges showed potential for their young core development.

One question that remains for the team is a solid center. Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller prove to be decent, but for this team to go over the edge, they need a guy who can help on both ends of the floor, like USC center Onyeka Okongw.

At 6’9”, the big man can hold down the fort at both ends of the floor, with versatility on defense and a hook shot Okongwu is comfortable with, the center can aid the team. Zeller can mentor him as a more traditional center and help the team out.

Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young shined this past season, averaging 29.6 points per game and 9.3 assists per game. The team finished dead last in the division with a 20-47 record.

The young core stepped up, with forward John Collins and guard Kevin Huerter stepping up for the Hawks. Huerter proved to be a threat around the perimeter, as Collins cleaned the glass and aided Young in scoring.

The team seems to lack in a backup point guard who can fill in for Young as he rests. Jeff Teague is a good replacement, but age is getting to him, so the Hawks need to shoot for someone like Cole Anthony. Cole is a quick guard with great ball handling, grit on defense and confidence when it comes to scoring.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards took a hit on the roster this past season, with guard John Wall sitting out the season with an Achilles injury. That left Bradley Beal with the team reigns, and he led the team with 30.5 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, and 1.2 steals per game. Rookie forward Rui

Hachimura provided a glimmer of promise for Wizards’ fans, as he scored 13.5 points per game while grabbing 6.1 rebounds.

With the injury list of Wall and Beal’s player option not being picked up after this upcoming season, Washington needs to find a guard to fill in as the heir to their core. As the ninth pick in the draft, a guard like RJ Hampton can surely fit in well.

For Hampton, his explosiveness and size can put him as a complement to Wall. Both players very versatile on the offensive side as well as a presence on defense, which the Wizards need to get to the next level.

Orlando Magic

The Magic found their way as the eight seed in the playoffs last year, led by their center in Nikola Vucevic and supporting cast of DJ Augustin, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier. Orlando has key pieces, with the rise of guard Markelle Fultz, who averaged 12.1 points per game and 5.1 assists per game.

The team has a great cast but seem to lack in centers. Vucevic has done a lot for the team by averaging 28 points per game.

As the 15 pick, center Xavier Tillman can prove to help them out. Their defense proves to need help on that end of the floor, and Tillman can provide that defensive agility that he had with Tom Izzo and Michigan State.

Miami Heat

The Eastern Conference champions made a name for themselves, as guard Jimmy Butler led the helm, with rising stars Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson. They dominated in the Southeast Division as they claimed the division title with a 44-29 record.

The team is deep, but another power forward in the paint would really aid in their development, like Jordan Nwora of Louisville. Nwora can hit the deep ball, but Miami has a great developmental program in South Beach and can really heighten his defensive struggles. He is a potential threat as Andre Iguodala starts to get older in age.

As the draft approaches, the teams in the Southeast Division have an opportunity to fill in the voids that haunt their team. These prospects could be the players that take teams to the elite level of teams.

Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.