Washington Wizards: The Southeast Division is more competitive than anticipated

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 27: John Wall /

The Washington Wizards have gotten off to a solid start for the 2017-18 regular season, but their division appears stronger than first anticipated.

The Washington Wizards currently stand at the top of the Southeast Division and are ranked third in the Eastern Conference at 4-2. Their only losses thus far come from a surprising loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and a blown lead to the Golden State Warriors. It has been an interesting season for only being six games, as both conferences have big surprises as far as which teams have been playing well.

What world are we living in where the Warriors are currently just 4-3 and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 3-4 with losses to what seem to be vastly inferior teams.

Inside the Southeast Division, the Orlando Magic are performing far better than anticipated and their record stands at 4-2, including solid wins against tough teams. Two of those wins came against the Brooklyn Nets, who had last week not only beat the Cavaliers, but were leading the league in points per game.

What is even more shocking is their record cannot be brushed off as a fluke, Orlando’s other two other wins came against the San Antonio Spurs as well as the Cavs. Both of these wins came  by double-digits, with the Magic beating the Cavs by 21 and the Spurs by 17 points.

In a season that has been full of surprises, upsets and season-ending injuries to All-Star talent for several teams, the Washington Wizards must keep their foot on the gas.

The Wizards must prove they belong with force

The Washington Wizards as a whole play tough basketball and with a chip on their shoulder. Their eyes are set clearly on making the Eastern Conference Finals this year, and intend to do so with the same starting core as the 2016-17 season.

They have been playing with a small-ball rotation to start the season as Kelly Oubre Jr. has been filling in for Markieff Morris as we await his return from surgery due to a sports hernia from early September.

Perhaps the Wizards need to take a step back as far as clearly being a group that is not afraid of a confrontation. During their trip to Golden State, Bradley Beal was given a fine for his altercation but Draymond Green, but Markieff Morris and Oubre Jr. were both penalized as well. Morris is suspended for one game without pay according to NBA.com and their report on the matter.

In other news, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post, Markieff Morris may return to the court sooner rather than later.

"“The Wizards announced Morris would miss six to eight weeks following his Sept. 22 surgery. If Morris continues to improve, he could return as early as Nov. 1 when the Wizards host the Phoenix Suns or Nov. 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.“He’s definitely moving in the right direction,” Brooks said."

In any case, the Washington Wizards have a mixed schedule as far as the challenge they will face for the next couple games, with or without Morris. They will face the struggling Phoneix Suns on Wednesday night and host the Cavaliers on Friday. Then they will take a trip to Toronto to face the Raptors, who have gotten off to a 3-2 start.

Next: 2017-18 Week 3 NBA Power Rankings

With the Magic being tied with the Wizards in their division at 4-2, as well as the Hornets sitting at 3-3 and an up-and-down team in the Miami Heat, the competition looks to be stiff in the Southeast Division in 2017-18.