The NBA has become a sprawling juggernaut, spanning out over the globe. The core of the league is still 30 teams playing Basketball games in North America. In order to manage this massive fixture list that spans more than a continent, the 30 NBA teams have traditionally been split into Divisions.
How many NBA teams are in the Southeast division? There are 5 teams in the NBA’s Southeast Division; The Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets and The Washington Wizards. They compete in the Eastern Conference of the NBA.
The Division system has been around since the inception of the NBA in the 1940’s. The Southeast Division was formed in 2004, when the league expanded to its current 30 team size. The Southeast Division originally consisted of 5 teams; The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and The Washington Wizards. The Bobcats were the new addition to the NBA, 3 teams came from the Atlantic Division, while the Hawks moved over from the Central Division.
The Southeast Division is currently made up of the following 5 NBA teams;
- Atlanta Hawks (joined 2004)
- Orlando Magic (joined 2004)
- Miami Heat (joined 2004)
- Washington Wizards (joined 2004)
- Charlotte Hornets (joined 2004)
The Southeast Division, being so new, has seen very little turnover of teams, compared to some of the more historic divisions. It has always featured 5 teams from the original 5 cities. However there has been a technical shift in Franchises, with the Hornets replacing the now defunct Bobcats in Charlotte.
Charlotte Bobcats – Southeast Division
In 2002 the Hornets franchise moved from Charlotte to New Orleans. They competed there until 2013 when the New Orleans franchise rebranded as the Pelicans. The NBA considers the Pelicans to be an expansion Franchise, that started competing in the league from 2002. This includes their time in New Orleans and the brief 2 season stint (2005-2007) in Oklahoma City following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This all counts as part of the Southwest Division.
Back in the Southeast Division the Hornets franchise itself resumed operations back in Charlotte in time for the 2014–15 season at which point it claimed the history of the original Hornets franchise from 1988–2002.
The Bobcats Franchise, which no longer exists, holds the Franchise records for the period between the 2004-05 season and the return of the Hornets after the 2013-14 season. For some reason the Charlotte Hornets had no interest in adding these years onto their official franchise record. The Bobcats would win just 293 of their 804 NBA matches, 36%. This included the historic 7 wins in 66 games (10%) during the shortened 2011-12 season.
The Southeast Division has remained in its current form since 2014.
Historically the most successful team in the Southeast Division has been the Miami Heat, winning the Southeast Division title 11 times. Orlando are their nearest competitors with just 4. The Bobcats and Hornets combined have won exactly zero Southeast Division titles.
While it is not common practice to hang divisional banners and the goal of any competent NBA Franchise is to win the Larry O’brien trophy, there is a certain pride fans can take from knowing they are the best franchise in their Division that year. It’s always good to outdo your neighbors.