Offseason Improvement Rankings: Atlantic Division

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May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) is defended by Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Suns were the worst team in the Western Conference and the fourth-worst overall. They earned the fifth pick in the 2013 draft with that miserable season. This coming season, the Suns will exciting and more interesting, but also worse, because almost all the other teams improved themselves. This could give the Suns one of the top picks in a potentially top-5 draft in NBA history. I asked editors around FanSided’s NBA Division for the low-down on their team.

Disclaimer: It took a while to coordinate with everyone and with some people I couldn’t get in touch, so I had to assess the offseasons of some teams. Also, I had to update some teams who continued signing and trading players after these were written.

  • New York Knicks- Greg Kaplan  (Buckets Over Broadway)

Grading the Knicks 2013 off-season is strange, to say the least. If we’re speaking in terms of talent, it would be inaccurate to say that the team got worse. They’ll still have the most important pieces to their 2012-13 campaign in house, which includes perennial MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony, one of the most versatile defensive bigs in Tyson Chandler and last year’s Sixth Man of the Year in J.R. Smith. They also will bring back breakout point guard Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert is another year removed from knee surgery with no restrictions, brought back a late season key contributor Kenyon Martin and even fan favorite Pablo Prigioni is back in his back-up role. They’ve even protected themselves from another potential Amar’e Stoudemire injury by trading for Andrea Bargnani, brought in an enforcer in Metta World Whatever We’re Calling Him Now and added two sneaky good rookie signings with Tim Hardaway Jr. and C.J. Leslie.

Any yet, with all that, it feels as though this team either got worse or they’ve simply missed their window of opportunity. A lot of that has to do with what cross-town rival Brooklyn did in the time off period, but more of that has to do with the knowledge now that the Knicks weren’t good enough last year to beat the likes of the Pacers (who got better) or the Heat (who still have LeBron). There was the belief last year that the Knicks had the talent to compete with anyone in the East and potentially win a NBA Title. That bubbled was popped last year when they were easily dispatched before reaching the Conference Finals.

So, it’s not that the Knicks got worse. It’s that they didn’t get significantly better. That fact alone is why Knicks fans feel the team failed this off-season.

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