2013 NBA Offseason: The Top 5 Most Improved Teams in the Draft and Free Agency

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2013 NBA Offseason: The Top 5 Most Improved Teams in the Draft and Free Agency
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Houston courted seven-time All-Star Dwight Howard but are the Rockets the most improved team this offseason?

In an offseason in which more than one-third of the players selected in the 2013 NBA draft were traded on draft night and, as ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted, 12 teams changed head coaches, the National Basketball Association has been revamped in the past three weeks. 

Are we really down to last head coach opening in NBA universe??? TWELVE new ones hired already. Only Philly (said to be Brett Brown) to go!

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2013

 

The combination of drafting talented prospects, hiring new coaches and signing free agents who can make an immediate impact has allowed several teams to enter next season better off than where they finished last year.

Playoff teams improved to potential title contenders and teams that missed the playoffs last season now seem destined to make the postseason in 2014.

The combination of several All-Star-caliber players becoming free agents this offseason and the hype around the 2014 NBA draft class, which has been rumored to be the best since 2003, has forced some teams to make a tough decision.

They could either make a run at Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Andre Iguodala or another big name in free agency or they could put together a weak roster for next season that will put them in position to have one of the best draft picks next June, as noted by Sports Illustrated.

Loaded 2014 NBA draft class offers hope to rebuilding teams: http://t.co/zdaFUifEuG (via @ChrisMannixSI)

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 12, 2013

 

While the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers appeared to choose the latter, most teams tried to sign free agents who will fill a void in their rosters. 

By convincing Dwight Howard to leave the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets have become one of the favorites in the Western Conference.

Money is no object to Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets will owe at least $80 million in salary cap tax penalties after they traded for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry and then signed Andrei Kirilenko. Brooklyn now has one of the strongest starting lineups in the NBA.

Without further ado, here are the five teams that improved the most this offseason.

 

Note: When evaluating the most improved teams, last season's results and the best-case scenario for teams based on their offseason additions do play a factor. Additionally, signing a free agent from another team has a greater impact than re-signing a free agent who played for the same team last year. The return of an injured player to the same team that he played for last season is not part of the criteria.

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