As the 2013 NBA playoffs progressed and the contenders were separated from the pretenders, basketball fans were left with the "usual suspects"—the Miami Heat, who advanced to their third consecutive NBA Finals, and the San Antonio Spurs, who have won four NBA titles since the 1998-99 season. While a champion still needs to be crowned in 2013, when looking ahead to next year, there are a number of surprising teams who will be even better in the 2013-14 season.
A combination of young players who have shown they have a lot of potential, a talented roster, cap room for offseason moves and good draft positions will determine the top 10 most surprising NBA teams who will improve in the 2013-14 season.
A team's inclusion and position on the list is determined by the combination of factors listed above, the amount of surprise in the team's success and how much the team improves from last season to next season.
Any team is capable of making the list, whether it's a team that made the finals this season or the Orlando Magic, who had the worst record in the league last season (20-62), as long as the team meets the necessary requirements.
The Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers are among the surprising NBA teams who will be even better next year because of their combination of cap space, draft picks and current young talent.
Note: Player stats and team records courtesy of ESPN.com. Playoff seeding courtesy of NBA.com/playoffs