The New York Knicks play in one of the toughest divisions in the NBA, as their No. 5 finish in the East put them as the No. 3 best team in the Atlantic Division last season. There are a few question marks within the division, but the 2023-24 season will be just as competitive, if not more so.
New York could sneak into the top two of the division, especially if a particular process falls apart. Looking at all five Atlantic teams, the Knicks have distinct advantages over each one, starting with the team predicted to finish at the bottom for the second straight year.
1 advantage the New York Knicks have over every Atlantic Division rival
Toronto Raptors: Front office mismanagement
The Raptors posted the worst record in the division last season at 41-41 and couldn’t advance past the play-in tournament. After not trading Fred VanVleet at the deadline, the 2019 champion walked in free agency to sign a three-year, $130 million contract with the Rockets.
Toronto is in a weird position after Masai Ujiri opted to keep most of the roster intact rather than enter a rebuilding phase. Pascal Siakam’s name has been floating around in trade rumors, and like VanVleet, he could leave the Raptors next summer in free agency. The same can be said for Gary Trent Jr., and guess who has a player option for 2024-25? OG Anunoby.
Toronto was predicted to be a team to be active at last year’s deadline, but that didn’t happen. Depending on the Raptors’ position entering February 2024, Ujiri could trade Siakam, Trent, and Anunoby or take another gamble on making the playoffs. That move could come back to haunt him far more than losing VanVleet has.
There’s no telling what Toronto’s roster will look like a year from now. Ujiri’s stubbornness has gotten in his way in the past and could continue to do so this season.