Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 24

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. Previous: . New York Knicks. 12. team. 27.

The New York Knicks aren’t bad, but they aren’t good enough to make the Eastern Conference Playoffs in 2016. A slightly below-.500 record would in years past gotten the Knicks into the seventh or eighth seed. Now that puts them in twelfth in the strong Eastern Conference.

Maybe Carmelo Anthony ignites his team in the second half after his Knicks were shamelessly left off the Christmas Day slate of games. Winning only 17 games in 2014-15 didn’t help Anthony’s case. New York can certainly contend in the East and win around 40 games, but they will need to make a trade or two to have the necessary depth to become a top eight time in the East.

team. 142. . . Previous: . Washington Wizards. 11

The Washington Wizards have won three straight games to move within a game of .500. It is a testament to the talent on the Wizards roster, but still being a way back of the contending teams probably says more about the club’s transition process and lack of maturity.

From being a team that was contending for a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals back in May to a team sitting at the top of the East’s bottom third has made the Wizards one of two teams in the East that has for some reason not met their 2015-16 expectations.

10. team. 170. . . Previous: . Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets have lost three straight and have as a result fallen out of the top eight in the tight Eastern Conference. Charlotte is a great team at home with a 11-5 record, but they have to do a better job in divisional play. The Hornets are 2-5 in the Southeast.

If Charlotte envisions itself as a playoff caliber team in 2016, they will have to play better basketball against the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic, and the Washington Wizards the rest of the way. The Southeast could get three or four teams in the playoffs, but Charlotte’s poor play in the Southeast could prove costly for the Hornets.

Next: Tier III: Likely First Round Exit