Southeast Shake-Up: How LeBron James To Miami Heat Affects Southeast Division
The past days have seen constant drama surrounding LeBron James, and unfortunately not enough of it has been about the actual game of basketball.
As NBA fans we've been witness to a wide range of strange and wonderful spectacles.
From the mourning of Cleveland, to the outburst and subsequent punishment of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, the league has been like a soap opera as of late.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson even managed to get his foot in the door and start yet another controversy, this one regarding racial matters.
Now that the dust has settled, we can finally analyze the impact of the LeBron signing on the bigger picture.
Let's start with the Southeast Division.
Impact #1: The LeBron signing makes the Southeast dominant
For starters, the arrival of LeBron in South Beach makes the Southeast Division the most dominant division in all of the Eastern Conference.
While the Heat were the fifth seed last season, bringing in LeBron as well as Chris Bosh definitely catapults them a few steps up the ladder.
The Southeast Division now contains two of the top three teams in the East, and coincidentally both are from Florida.
Throw in the Atlanta Hawks and now the divisions arguably contains three of the top four teams in the entire conference.
Talk about a power struggle eh?
Impact #2: The LeBron signing makes the Southeast "Home of the Stars"
First of all, is this really a significant impact? The answer is no.
This impact is definitely more trivial, but intriguing nonetheless.
With the arrival of LeBron, the Southeast is now the most star-studded division in the league.
Seriously though, the Southeast could make its own All-Star team.
I can see it now, the "Southeast Superstars" featuring LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis, Josh Smith, Stephen Jackson and John Wall.
Hell three-fifths of the All-NBA First Team is in the Southeast!
Anyway, moving on...
Impact #3: The LeBron signing thwarts Orlando's hold as Southeast champion
The Magic have been the Southeast Division champions for three consecutive seasons.
In recent years the organisation has found a way to surround Howard with a wide array of talent, resulting in successful results.
With James and Bosh joining the Heat, the Magic could be knocked from their perch.
The Heat will be a better regular season team than the Magic, mainly because their superstar power will allow them to dominate the majority of opponents they face.
Arguments about the Heat lacking depth can be put forward, but the recent signings of Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem reflect the fact that veteran help is on its way.
If the Heat can lock up another three or four quality veterans, they will have a ten-man rotation that is on par with the best teams in the league.
The Magic won 59 games last season, and I expect the Heat to win in the 62-66 range next season.
Whether the Heat can win the NBA Championship next season is a different question, but in the regular season only a handful of teams will be able to come away victorious.
Impact #4: The LeBron signing increases historical significance of the Southeast
The Southeast Division is a mere baby, formed in 2004 as part of an expansion.
Since then only the division has only won a single championship, with the Heat claiming the prize in 2006.
Even the legacy of the other franchises in the division is limited.
The Bobcats were created in the same year as the Southeast Division, and the Magic were formed one year after the Heat in 1989.
The more prestigious Hawks and Wizards have greater history, but only two NBA championships between them.
In terms of measurable success, the Southeast is the weakest in the East and does not fare much better on a league-wide scale.
However the construction of this South Beach dynasty could change all that.
The promising trio of James-Wade-Bosh has set the bar high, publicly stating that they will win multiple championships for the city of Miami.
This would do wonders for the historical significance of the Southeast Division as a whole, catapulting them a few spots higher in comparison to other divisions.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately LeBron to Miami affects the Southeast Division in a largely positive way.
Not only will the level of competition be higher, the inter-division rivalries will likely grow and result in more exciting contests.
Two of upper-elite teams now rest in Florida, which will prove to be more dominant?
That's right, I'm excited for the Heat-Magic match up already.
When it's all said and done, LeBron to South Beach could significantly enhance the legacy of not just the Miami Heat, but the Southeast Division too.
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