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Get ready to see a lot of Spike Lee in next season's playoffs.
The Knicks have a realistic shot to finish next season with a better record than the Celtics, Magic and Hawks—the teams who finished third, fourth and fifth in the East last season, respectively.
Boston will be in what’s likely their Big Three’s last chance to win a championship. As a result, they’ll probably look to coast as much as possible during the regular to salvage energy and health for the postseason.
Orlando’s big trades last season for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas didn’t pan out like they hoped. Losing Richardson—who was the most productive of those three—to free agency seems likely and they’re probably stuck with Arenas’s bloated contract for at least another two seasons.
Those factors mixed in with a weak supporting cast will incline Dwight Howard towards leaving, which will be—and already has been—a huge distraction.
Atlanta’s likely heading into next season with the same roster from 2010-2011, featuring overpaid superstar Joe Johnson and will have to deal with distracting Josh Smith trade rumors.
The Knicks will finish above each of these teams next season, earning the Eastern Conference playoffs’ third seed.
It will be the first time they have home-court advantage in the postseason since 2000.