Our third episode in the All-Division teams show, this time the All-Southeast teams, were Washington are sending every valuable piece away, The Bobcats might make it to their first playoff, Miami and Wade are pretty much pushing it to their max while Atlanta are finally looking like a team to be taken seriously, challenging Orlando for the best in the division.
* – For our previous posts – All-Atlantic team, All-Central Team.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Last season in Miami for Wade? The man who pretty much does it all for the Heat is once again leading them, according to the state of things now, to the playoffs, where they won’t last more than two rounds, at most. Wade is averaging 26.4 points, 6.7 assists and 1.8 steals, all in the league’s top 10. He’s one of the more versatile players in the league, not to speak of superstars but can’t get very far or anywhere near a second NBA title with the current roster of players surrounding him.
Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
Another player who might be playing somewhere else next season, Johnson and the Hawks are having an exceptional season, building on their two consecutive playoff appearances with this year being legitimate challengers for winning the East, although Orlando and Cleveland look like a more likely option for the NBA finals. Johnson is doing his usual, a little scoring (21.5 points, 10th in the league), a little rebounding (4.7 per game) and 4.7 assists per game. He also got to start in his first all-star game with Iverson missing the event.
Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats
Wallace has suddenly developed into a double-double machine, recording 30 so far this season, averaging a career high 10.5 rebounds, leading the league in the category earlier this season (currently 8th), while adding 18.5 points, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. The Bobcats might get into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history (currently 9th in the conference, battling with the Bulls, Bucks, Heat and the Raptors for the 5-8 spots). He also made his first all-star game appearance this year, coming off the bench.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
First of all, I’m a little biased regarding Smith. Maybe I’m seeing the potential that bursts out at times, making him look like one of the better forwards in the league on those rare occasions. Something is different with Smith this year, as with the entire Hawks team. More mature? Maybe, maybe it’s something else, but there’s seems that the team’s development and his personal development are advancing in the right direction. Smith is averaging 16 points per game, along with 8.9 rebounds and a surprising 4.2 assists per game. His defense is great as usual, with 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks per game (3rd in the league), becoming the youngest and fastest to reach 1000 career blocks.
Center – Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
The best center in the league has had his rough patches, like the Magic, this season, but they seem to be back on the right track, second in the east, headed for a probable second consecutive meeting with LeBron and the Cavs in the Eastern Finals, hoping to prevail again. Howard is averaging 18.5 points per game and as always, leading the league in rebounds (13.2) and blocks (2.8). One suggestion – stop fighting with Shaq. He’s just a bitter old man.