The Eastern Conference is top-heavy with the reigning NBA World Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Brooklyn Nets Super-Team and the Philadelphia 76ers. None of those teams will be featured in this 2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview but the Southeast Division does have two teams that will compete for home court advantage in the NBA Playoffs.
The Atlanta Hawks surprised everyone last year and went head-to-head with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Trae Young has established himself as a Superstar in this league with ice in his veins. They were able to re-sign John Collins and should make another run at both the Division title and the Conference Finals.
The Washington Wizards have now cleared both John Wall‘s and Russell Westbrook‘s contract while holding onto Bradley Beal. They have done a nice job retooling, but on paper do not seem ready to compete yet.
The Charlotte Hornets found a playmaker in the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and will need to give him the proper players around him to support his style of play.
The Orlando Magic are back in rebuild mode and are collecting assets and taking names!
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview – Southeast
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New Faces in the Division
- Orlando Magic – Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner
- Charlotte Hornets – James Bouknight, Kai Jones
- Washington Wizards – Corey Kispert, Isaiah Todd
- Atlanta Hawks – Jalen Johnson
At pick five, Suggs is a steal for the Orlando Magic and will share the backcourt with Cole Anthony, Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and Markelle Fultz. He is a playmaker who can score and plays tough defense but might not be a reliable option in Fantasy as a rookie.
The Magic also added Franz Wagner with the 8th pick who should be the perfect complementary player next to Suggs during this long rebuild process. He will help spread the floor and is a solid spot-up three-point shooter.
While the Magic needed to improve its wing players, there is going to be a rotation that limits Wagner’s value. Jonathan Isaac is returning from injury, Terrence Ross averaged 15.5 points per game last year and Chuma Okeke looked good in his limited playing time.
The Charlotte Hornets had Bouknight fall into their laps on draft night at pick 11 and he should be able to beat out Ish Smith in the rotation with LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier. Malik Monk and Devonte’ Graham are gone so there are plenty of minutes available in the Hornets backcourt. Bouknight should provide Fantasy managers with points, threes and steals.
The Washington Wizards added a lot of versatile depth to their roster this offseason. With the 15th pick they drafted Corey Kispert of out Gonzaga but how much playing time will he see? Bradley Beal or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will see time at small forward when on the floor together with Spencer Dinwiddie. The wings are log jammed with Rui Hachimura, Kyle Kuzma, Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans and now Kispert.
The rotation will work itself out and when Kispert plays he will be a three-point shooter and defender, but how many minutes will he play?
In Atlanta, Jalen Johnson might not see many minutes in his rookie season. John Collins is back, Danilo Gallinari thrived in his role on this team and De’Andre Hunter (23) and Cam Reddish (21) look to continue to develop into pieces to help this Hawks team play for an NBA Championship.
Impact Free Agents
- Miami Heat – Kyle Lowry
- Washington Wizards – Spencer Dinwiddie
- Charlotte Hornets – Kelly Oubre
Kyle Lowry (sign and trade) is now 35 years old but still shot 39.6% from three last season on seven attempts per game for the Toronto Raptors. If he can continue to average 15-17 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds per game with the Miami Heat he should be able to live up to his expected ADP in the 50-60 range and top 30 guard. Goran Dragic was sent to Toronto in the S&T and there is little guard depth on the Heat’s roster. Victor Oladipo likely won’t return until the new year.
Spencer Dinwiddie (sign and trade) is one of the most undervalued players in the NBA. He developed into one of the better point guards from 2017-20 before suffering an ACL injury in the third game of the season. Dinwiddie averaged 20 points per game for Brooklyn in 2019-20 with 3.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists. He is not an efficient three-point shooter, but he is a scorer who can draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. He should be a nice fit next to Beal leading the offense.
Kelly Oubre is an enigma but not a player I would want on my favorite NBA team. For Fantasy purposes though, he has a role. He is a high-energy player who is not afraid to shoot his shot. So while he might not shoot efficiently for deep, he has averaged five attempts from three per game for three straight seasons now. Oubre has benefitted from playing on teams that were not very good or because of injury in recent years, inflating his counting stats. This year he is going to be playing behind Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges while having to give way to LaMelo, Rozier and Bouknight creating their own offense. There are other late-round forwards I prefer over Oubre – Keldon Johnson, Duncan Robinson, Kevin Porter Jr., etc.
- Washington Wizards – Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aaron Holiday
- Atlanta Hawks – Delon Wright
- Charlotte Hornets – Mason Plumlee
The Russell Westbrook trade was incredible for the Wizards when you consider they essentially got a full rotation in return (including Dinwiddie). Harrel was a huge disappointment last season leaving the Los Angeles Clippers to join the Lakers. However, that was to be expected when playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While Harrell was still very efficient, he only averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds. However, he recorded a career-best 15.2 total rebound percentage (11.3 ORB% & 19.1 DRB%).
Daniel Gafford looked incredible in limited action, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per 36 over 23 games with Washington and Thomas Bryant is returning from a torn ACL. Harrell should return to 26+ minutes per game and have solid value coming off a down Fantasy year.
Kyle Kuzma had the worst year of his four-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020-21. Even with a career-best 53.3 eFG%. He won’t be converted in Fantasy Basketball drafts, but he has some sleeper potential with the ability to add threes and rebounds as a late-round pick. However, there is a lot of players in the rotation on the wing for the Wizards and they are all shooters. The hot hand will play.
Draft With Confidence
PG – Trae Young, LaMelo Ball, Kyle Lowry
SG – Bradley Beal, Terry Rozier
SF – Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward
PF – Rui Hachimura, John Collins
C – Bam Adebayo, Clint Capela
Category Specific Players (last season stats)
True Shooting (TS%) – shooting efficiency including 2pt field goals, 3pt field goals and free throws
Effective Field Goal (eFG%) – adjust for the fact that a 3pt FG is worth more than a 2pt FG
|Player||Pts||FG%||3pt%||eFG%||TS%||Pts Per |
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