5 NBA Teams Who Have Improved the Most This Summer
Every year there are teams that use the NBA Draft and free agency to increase the team's chances of making noise the following year.
However, there are those managers who take their jobs seriously and turn lottery teams into playoff units and contenders into champions.
Here are five teams that made big strides to improve in 2012.
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Key Players Added: Kendall Marshall, Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola
Key Players Kept: Shannon Brown
Key Players Lost: Steve Nash, Grant Hill
After the loss of Steve Nash, Suns fans were ready to accept a few seasons of being on the bottom of the league, but the management had other ideas. Phoenix drafted a pass-first point guard with a high IQ to come off the bench behind the rising Goran Dragic.
Dragic played the first three seasons in Phoenix under Steve Nash and now returns to the desert after making some noise last season in Houston having career highs in points, assists, and steals.
Michael Beasley is still very young and he proved he can be a scoring threat in 2011 when he averaged 19.2 PPG.
Scola gives them a low post player to complement Gortat and Phoenix has a good chance to make a playoff return this season.
Los Angeles Lakers
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Key Players Added: Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison
Key Players Kept: None
Key Players Lost: Matt Barnes
We go from the team that lost Steve Nash to the team that has landed him. Well, how can I say that adding one player vastly improves a team from one season to the next?
It's simple; when that one player is Steve Nash and when one of the biggest weaknesses of that team is the point guard position then I would say the call is easy.
Nash adds a whole new element to the Lakers that they simply have not had in the Kobe Era. He is a consistent point guard that makes everyone around him better and is an incredible shooter.
Both Bynum and Gasol will be running a lot more pick-and-rolls and their numbers should increase next season.
The Lakers were a strong team last year, but the pickup of Nash makes them a legitimate title contender in the West.
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Key Players Added: Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Jason Terry
Key Players Kept: Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass
Key Players Lost: Ray Allen
The Celtics did a magnificent job of getting their team ready for another title run. Considering that they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and lost in the full seven games, any improvements are significant.
The loss of Ray Allen was remedied by the addition of Jason Terry, and Boston kept Garnett for an additional veteran presence. Courtney Lee gives the Cs another guard to work who brings energy as well as good effort on defense.
Sullinger only slipped due to health concerns and Melo is raw, but his blocking ability and rebounding will be welcomed.
Boston wants to win a title this year and they will give Miami or whoever else stands in the way a real challenge.
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
Key Players Added: Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans
Key Players Kept: Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez
Key Players Lost: None
They added all-star Joe Johnson and kept another all-star in Deron Williams. Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans are two great rebounders and Brook Lopez gives them a top low post threat (assuming he stays healthy of course).
If the Nets pick up the consistency that their New York neighbor has lacked in recent years than they will indeed own the biggest market in the US in their first year there.
New Orleans Hornets
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Key Players Added: Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson
Key Players Kept: Eric Gordon
Key Players Lost: Chris Kaman
The Hornets should make a huge jump the season from being a terrible team to very likely capturing a playoff spot. Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers are two great prospects and Eric Gordon is a top scorer when he is healthy (21 PPG in nine games last year).
There are a ton of question marks as the turn-around of the franchise centers around two rookies who have not played one minute in the NBA yet.
Ryan Anderson won the Most Improved Player of the Year Award last season and lead the league in three-pointers.
This is a very interesting unit and they have the potential to do something very special this year.
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