NBA Power Rankings: Southeast Division

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May 15, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; T-shirts lie in seats in the stands prior to the game between the Washington Wizards and the Indiana Pacers in game six of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

May 15, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; T-shirts lie in seats in the stands prior to the game between the Washington Wizards and the Indiana Pacers in game six of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Southeast Division has the opportunity to be the most competitive in the Eastern Conference next season. They’ll at least be the most improved, I believe. The Washington Wizards are coming off a big surge in which they made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the Arenas era.

The nucleus of John Wall and Bradley Beal continues to grow, and resigning Marcin Gortat keeps their core mostly together, with the only significant loss being Trevor Ariza signing with the Rockets. In addition, they acquired the veteran Paul Pierce on a low risk, short term deal, one which would allow him to contribute in any way he can while also mentoring second year forward Otto Porter, whom Washington may have pegged as their forward of the future. The Wizards are a young, scrappy team who are just beginning to taste success, so I fully expect them to come back ready to improve upon their 44-38 2013-14 campaign.

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