And as for other teams improving...
Atlanta hasn't resigned Smith yet. They don't sniff the playoffs without him.
Orlando hasn't really improved, they'll remain strong next year.
Milwaukee has certainly improved, but they are still no better than a .500 team.
Philly could improve because they're young, but Andre Miller was a huge part of that team, and may not be back.
Miami, Chicago, Charlotte and New jersey
have improved as well, but they are still on the outside looking in, waiting for young guys to develop.
The East is indeed slowly getting better, but thus far, Toronto has improved just as much as anyone, and barring any further huge deals/signings, I don't see any other team behind us improving to the point that they are going to be expected to move ahead of the Raps in the standings.