For years, the NBA has needed to rely on the prevalence of its most historically rich teams to thrive as a league. For as long as many fans can remember, that reliance has been bestowed upon the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, who both reside in two of the biggest sports markets in the world.
While both teams may very well still be perennial playoff contenders for years to come, their necessity to the league overall is dwindling. The leveling of the structure is not so much a result of these two storied franchises becoming weak, but rather the rest of the NBA becoming strong.
According to NBA.com, in 2012, the league experienced one of their best ever seasons in regards to television ratings. Network broadcasters ABC and TNT turned in their highest rated regular seasons since they had begun televising games. From the 2011 to the 2012 season, ABC's ratings jumped 10 percent, while TNT's was up 4 percent.
While the Knicks and Celtics continue to get their fair share of prime time games and most certainly contribute to a good portion of that rising viewership, fans are becoming interested in the league as a whole. There are players and teams across the NBA that are stealing their thunder, and the league could not be happier about it.
Here are five reasons (teams) that the NBA no longer needs the Celtics and Knicks to thrive.