So what teams in the Eastern Conference did the most to improve for the 2015-16 season? The availability of cap space and the status of retaining one's own free agents factors into what teams are able to do. The countdown starts with teams that did the least to enhance its roster -- and depending on the team that could be a good thing:
No. 15 Cavaliers
Last season's record: 53-29: Finish: 2nd in East. Conference champion and NBA finals runner-up.
Key additions: PG-SG Mo Williams, re-acquired in free agency. SG Sir'Dominic Pointer, taken No. 53 overall in the 2015 draft.
The skinny: Williams spent 2008-11 in Cleveland with LeBron James when he was a starter. Now 32, Williams is a backup and can play both guard positions to give them a better option offensively when Kyrie Irving leaves the floor. He still averages double figures though he shoots in the low 30%-range from three-point range. The Cavs' main focus has been retaining C Timofey Mozgov, Fs Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson and James. Because they gave up Andrew Wiggins for Love, who they played better without in their run to the NBA Finals, the Cavs were pot committed. They unloaded Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday and acquired traded-player exceptions in return. They also settled on a one-year deal with backup PG Matthew Dellavedova with J.R. Smith still dangling on the market.
Projected finish: Because of James alone, no worse than a No. 3 seed. This was a taxpaying team last season ($7 million) and that handicapped their ability to go outside to find free agents. However, they can re-sign their own which is what happened here. The Cavs will be a taxpayer for 2015-16, too, and are trying to avoid the escalating tax penalties for a franchise that exceeds three times in a four-year span. It's not about how the Cavs start. It's how things end up. The road to the NBA Finals will go through Cleveland until further notice but are they any better than last season? Probably not.