The Heat have long been the strongest franchise in the Southeast Division but now, they are entering a period of uncertainty that the organisation has not known since the Big Three-era began.
Dwyane Wade has gone to Chicago and Chris Bosh has been ruled medically ineligible to play. All of these developments mean that Hassan Whiteside is now the best player on the Miami Heat. This was unthinkable even three months ago.
Whiteside is a defensive force in the paint that alters shots regularly and gobbles up rebounds. He also has decent touch around the rim and is athletic enough to make plays over defenders. Look for Miami to make use of his offensive talents more this season.
Top Three: 1) Hassan Whiteside 2) Goran Dragic 3) Justise Winslow
Al Horford left in free agency and the club replaced him with Dwight Howard. Superman might not be the same incarnation that was last seen in this division with the Orlando Magic but, he can still get it done.
D12 is still an elite rebounder at the center position and while not quite the unparalleled rim deterrent that he was as a younger player, he is still great in the right defensive schemes. Howard can still go up and make plays near the rim.
The best part of all is that this team will be the most similar to the one that he played with in Orlando. That simple fact may lead to a real resurgence for the veteran center.
Top Three: 1) Dwight Howard 2) Paul Millsap 3) Kyle Korver
Kemba Walker has been the best player on the Hornets since the days of them being Bobcats. His inclusion here should be no surprise to anyone. The smaller point guard had a productive season last year along with a spirited performance in the playoffs.
His speed and control of pace are excellent for a lead guard. Also, his ballhandling always holds the potential for a defender to be truly embarrassed on the court. Walker shored up his turnovers last year and became one of the better assist men in the league.
Top Three: 1) Kemba Walker 2) Nicolas Batum 3) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Aaron Gordon is known more for dunking than anything else at this point in his NBA career. For the Magic to be a force in the Eastern Conference, this will have to change.
Victor Oladipo was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka and that means its Gordon’s squad now.
He averaged nine points and six rebounds a game last season. That will have to come up but, obviously, he is the one player on the roster with superstar potential. He will have help defensively from Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo.
Top Three: 1) Aaron Gordon 2) Serge Ibaka 3) Evan Fournier
John Wall is still the best player on the Wizards and he is looking to lead his team back to the playoffs after a disappointing season. He is still a blur from basket to basket and has proven to be one of the most creative assist men in the league.
Bradley Beal is healthy again after battling injuries for the last year. His long range shooting will compliment Wall and ignite their attack along with Markieff Morris. Getting the mercurial forward in for an entire season could help make the difference for this club.
Top Three: 1) John Wall 2) Bradley Beal 3) Markieff Morris