NBA Eastern Conference strength rankings: Knicks 10th

The Knicks have gotten better this season. But the rest of the Eastern Conference did.

Dejounte Murray joined the Hawks. Cavaliers landed Knicks goal Donovan Mitchell long ago. the net Keep their stars. The Bucks will be much healthier this season. The Celtics improved with increasing moves.

So, yes, the Knicks are getting better, but that doesn’t mean a direct return to the playoffs – with a top six finish in the conference – is a lock. A place in the Playing Tournament – which includes teams of 7-10 – feel more bearable.

After going 37-45 last season, a return to position above 0.500 feels realistic. Having a reliable goalkeeper like Jalen Bronson should raise the bar for others around him, and reducing the pressure on Julius Randle to be a scorer and playmaker could lead to a more efficient season from Southpaw’s side.

The Knicks need Julius Randle to restore his All-Star shape to make a meaningful move up the rankings.
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Here, we take a look at the top 10 teams in the Eastern Conference—and where to go for the Knicks.

Favorite

1. Celtics

The Celtics were clever in passing Kevin Durant If it would cost all-star winger Jaylene Brown. Defensive-minded Brown suits co-star Jason Tatum better than Durant, and the Celtics are out of place in the finals. There was no need for big moves. Instead, the Celtics tinkered with the roster, and relegation point guard Malcolm Brugdon made a deal with the Pacers. It’s the kind of deal that can really pay off in match time. The Brogdon, as long as he can stay healthy, is an important bi-directional piece capable of scoring, organizing and defending. Celtics also signed winger Danilo Gallinari, but Gallinari recently suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament While playing internationally for Italy, which hurts the Celtics’ scoring depth.

2. Dollars

Injuries to key players ruined the Bucks’ title defense last season. They were without their second-best player (Chris Middleton) and fell to the No. 3 seed, denying them a court advantage at home in a season-ending loss to the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs. Improving health would obviously help, and the Bucks made what might end up as a noteworthy move by trading Joe Ingles, a talented winger in the gaming industry. He will miss a large part of the season with a ruptured ACL in January.

0 Jason Tatum of the Boston Celtics leads to the basket past Giannis Antetokonmou No. 34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a game at TD Garden on May 1, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will try to get his money back to the NBA Finals after Jason Tatum and the Celtics clinched that spot last season.
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contenders

3. 76ers

Joel Embiid, James Harden & Co. improved on the sidelines, improving their depth and defense around the two superstars. Newcomers DeAnthony Melton, PJ Tucker and Danielle House should be valuable reserves, providing the two-way ability needed for the 76er after a disappointing exit from the playoff.

4. Networking

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving I’m back after all the drama. The Nets acquired a high-quality suite in Royce O’Neale from Jazz and signed TJ Warren’s high bench scorer Plus they’ll be returning to shooting guard Joe Harris after he missed most of last season with an ankle injury. There is clearly A chance to blow all this up. Durant previously told Nets owner Joe Tsai that he will only return if coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks are fired before retracting, the mercurial Irving is always uncertain and Ben Simmons He comes out of a whole season without walking on the ground. But there is no doubt that the Nets have the talent to compete at the top of the conference.

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz battles against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 21, 2022 in New York City.
Donovan Mitchell’s Knicks trade target jumped from the Western Conference to the East, but it was the Cavaliers who were a hit.
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5. Heat

was the heat Jimmy Butler missed 3 points Shy of reaching the NBA Finals for the second time in three years, but getting back to that point can be tough. It’s been a quiet season in South Beach despite rumors of a big trade for the likes of Durant and Mitchell. They also failed to bring back veteran forwards BJ Tucker and Markive Morris, losing to the 76ers and Nets respectively.

sleepers

6. Cavaliers

The Knicks’ loss was the Cavaliers’ gain. By acquiring Mitchell from the Jazz in a blockbuster trade, Cleveland now has one of the league’s top youth rosters. Mitchell will team up three times with rising star Darius Garland in the backcourt, and Cavs has a trio up front from Evan Mobley, Garrett Allen and Isaac Okoro. These five players are 25 years old or younger. The Cavaliers are off 44 wins on the season, and Mitchell makes this already serious team noticeably better.

Toronto Raptors (4) striker Scotty Barnes tries to keep the ball in bounds as the Toronto Raptors face the Atlanta Hawks at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
The Raptors have held on tight to franchising Scotty Barnes amid commercial rumors this off-season.
Toronto Star via Getty Images

7. Birds of Prey

The Raptors had the chops — think: Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and fellow young OG Anunoby — to land on Durant. Instead, they will continue to build around the two young men. Signature newcomer Otto Porter Jr. gives the Raptors even more depth to the wing.

8. Hawks

Atlanta didn’t take the next step as expected last season, dropping rather than climbing after a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021. Proactively upgrade their listDespite this, by trading for Murray, one of the league’s best goalkeepers. All-Star debut this past season, the 25-year-old will join Trae Young in a dynamic backcountry. They could also end up stealing in first-round pick AJ Griffin, Top 10 talent Who fell to the Hawks at No. 16.

pretenders

DeMar DeRozan leads Chicago Bulls (11) to the basket while defending Bobby Portis of the Milwaukee Bucks (9) during Game 4 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
DeMar DeRozan and The Bulls will have a tough time repeating in sixth place from last season.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

9. Bulls

The Bulls’ offseason didn’t include any major additions after their first playoff appearance since 2017. The big move was the re-signing of franchise cornerstone Zach LaVine to a five-year, $215.2 million deal. Veterans Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic can help this young team looking to prove that last season’s 46-win campaign was a precursor to their bright future.

10. Knicks

Add Bronson Gives Knicks a real point of protection In his youth For the first time in what seems like ages. Isaiah Hartenstein It should provide a new dimension As a large man protects the edges and can also extend the floor and create for others. But Knicks needed to put in more effort to climb higher. As it is currently created, they feel like a 43-win team. The hope for further improvements must come from the essence of youth, Quentin Grimes Take an important step as a 3D contributor And Obi Tobin forces the hand of coach Tom Tibodo to put him on the floor more. Julius Randle’s status as the alpha dog for this team appears to be changing. He will be asked to play with the ball less and need to adapt.

the rest

The Hornets And the processors They are two other teams that could end up in 10th place. Led by primary guard Lamelo Paul, Charlotte won 43 games last season and sealed a need in the middle by recruiting Grand Duke’s man Mark Williams in the first round. The uncertain situation of the outstanding forward Miles Bridges that he faces Domestic violence and child abuse crimes, hanging on the franchise. Washington brought back All-Star Bradley Beal in a top bargain, but made only one significant addition in Wisconsin lottery-picking guard Johnny Davis—unless you consider bringing the Gibson crown important. The PacersAnd the pistons And the Charm She has interesting young pieces, the product of poor seasons that lead to high draft picks, but she’s nowhere near as competitive.