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. 1, Raptors
Last season's record: 49-33: Finish: 4th in East. Eliminated in first round of playoffs.
Key additions: Drafted SG Delon Wright at No. 20 overall and acquired SG Norman Powell, 46th overall, in a deal with Milwaukee. In free agency, scored C Bismack Biyombo, SF DeMarre Carroll, PG Cory Joseph and PF Luis Scola.
The skinny: Their small-ball style caught up to them in the postseason when they were embarrassed by the Wizards and swept in four games. As good as starting SG DeMar DeRozan can be, he has a tendency to take terrible shots. The Raptors went for improved quality shooting (letting G Lou Williams walk was part of this plan, too) while adding some size and defense. Biyombo is useless on the offensive end but he's a much better presence than Tyler Hansbrough in the paint. Carroll is the type of three-and-D player that should fit coach Dwane Casey's system because he flourished with the Atlanta Hawks in a similar style. And GM Masai Ujiri flipped G Greivis Vasquez into a first-round pick in that deal with Milwaukee that involved Powell.
Projected finish: 5th-6th. Yes, this seems like a contradiction. Though they've done well to remake themselves, hence the top rating, they're probably going to take a step back during the regular season and it has little to do with the additions mentioned. DeRozan and PG Kyle Lowry were exposed by the Wizards, and I expect this backcourt to not be as good. Lowry has back issues as well which may hinder him. So while the front office made prudent moves to set them up for the future, don't anticipate immediate benefits because other teams appear better at this moment.