Hello NBA 2013: Which teams are on the rise?

New York Knicks vs Oklahoma City Thunder

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2013-14 NBA season begins tonight as the Miami Heat will try to become the first team to three-peat in the league since the Lakers did it in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

There’s a good chance the Heat will be one of the teams at the end of the season challenging for the title, but what about a team or two to keep an eye on for this season? Here’s a look at the teams that made the biggest improvement in winning percentage last season (and those who dropped the most).

Biggest gainers last year
1. Brookyn Nets +.265 (from .333 in 2011-12 to .598 last season)
2. Golden State Warriors +. 225 (from .348 in 2011-12 to .573 last season)
3. Charlotte Bobcats +.150 (from .106 in 2011-12 to .256 last season)
4. Denver Nuggets +. 119 (from .576 in 2011-12 to .695 last season)
3. New York Knicks + .114 (from 545 in 2011-12 to .659 last season)

Biggest drops in winning percentage
1. Orlando Magic -.317 (from .561 in 2011-12 to .244 last season)
2. Chicago Bulls -.209 (from ,758 in 2011-12 to .549 last season)
3. Phoenix Suns -.195 (from .500 in 2011-12 to .305 last season)
4. Philadelphia -.115 (from .530 in 2011-12 to .415 last season)
5. Boston Celtics -.085 (from .591 in 2011-12 to .506 last season)

While the Nets had the biggest gain in winning percentage last season, two teams increased their winning percentage for the fifth straight season last year. The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder each increased their winning percentage again last year over 2011-12, giving them five straight seasons of an improved winning percentage. For the Grizzlies, they have gone from a .286 winning percentage in 2007-08 to .293, .488, .561, .621 and .683 last season. The Thunder have gone from .244 in 2007-08 to .280, .610, .671, .712 and .732 last season. The Los Angeles Clippers improved their winning percentage last year for the fourth straight season, while the Nets and Knicks last year improved their winning percentage for a third straight year.

Last season the Dallas Mavericks were the only NBA team to finish the season at .500 (they were 41-41). Sixteen teams were above .500 and 13 teams were below the .500 mark for the season. For the San Antonio Spurs, their winning percentage of .707 last year gave them 16 consecutive years with a record above .500, longest streak in the NBA. They are followed by Denver (10 straight seasons above .500), Los Angeles Lakers (8), Houston (7), Boston (6) and Atlanta and Miami with five.

In the sub.500 category, the Minnesota Timberwolves were only 31-51 last season (a winning percentage of .378) It was the eighth straight year under .500 for the ‘Wolves, longest current streak in the league. They are followed by Sacramento (7) and Detroit, Toronto and Washington each with five straight sub .500 seasons.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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