NBA Preview

October 11, 2022 Uncategorized Comments Off on NBA Preview

Will the Warriors repeat? Will the Lakers rebound? Will the Bucks be ready to make another title push with a healthy team? Which offseason move will be most impactful? Who will make it out of the loaded Western Conference? All of these are intriguing questions that will be answered as we enter the 2022/2023 NBA season.

Will the Celtics and Warriors make another run at an NBA finals appearance? Between the two of them, the Warriors seem like the ones more likely to do so. They have proven time and again that they are built to not only compete but to win championships. And think about this – in the last six playoffs when Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have all been healthy the Warriors have made it to the NBA finals (yes, they did have Kevin Durant for 3 of those runs). Until proven otherwise, the Warriors are still the most dangerous team in the West. The Celtics on the other hand have gone through an offseason of turmoil. Ime Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for one year for inappropriate conduct with a female employee. That is bound to have a negative effect on the team. Furthermore, when healthy, the Bucks are still the team to beat in the East, and the Bucks will have their full complement of superstars again heading into the season. Similarly, teams like the 76ers and potentially the Cavs will have something to say about the Eastern Conference title race, which makes it all the more likely that the Celtics do not repeat as Eastern Conference champions.

In Laker land there are many questions heading into this season. Can the Lakers (Anthony Davis and Lebron James specifically) stay healthy for the majority of the season? If so, they should be able to make the playoffs. However, when a team has Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and an older but still good enough version of Russell Westbrook, making the playoffs is the bare minimum. Can this team reach its ultimate goal of winning a championship? This seems unlikely simply because the Lakers seem to be playing an old man’s game in a modern era. With Lebron and Westbrook on the court, that ensures that the shooting will be sub optimal to say the least, and so I find it hard to believe that teams like Golden State and Phoenix won’t exploit this. Unless Westbrook or Lebron magically becomes a three point specialists overnight, don’t expect the Lakers to truly be fighting for that NBA finals trophy in the stacked Western Conference.

Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland or Rudy Gobert to Minnesota? Which will prove more influential? It seems likely that it will be Donovan Mitchell. To go one step further, I think it is extremely likely that we will look back on the Rudy Gobert trade as one of the worst and most lobsided trades in NBA history. The modern NBA does not look kindly on big men who cannot shoot and space the floor. Sure, Gobert provides great rim protection and is a great rebounder, but these traits on their own aren’t as valuable as they once were. Minnesota most certainly could have used 4 first round picks on a player more suited to the modern NBA (Donovan Mitchell comes to mind). Will the Timberwolves win some games this season? Yes. With D’Angelo Russel, Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert they should be able to make the playoffs, but I think the farthest they make it will be the second round. However, I do expect Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs to have a great season. Now that they have the ability to spread the ball out even more with Mitchell and Darius Garland, they should be able to win a lot of games, and perhaps make a deep run in the playoffs.

Out of the East, my finals prediction is Milwaukee, so long as they stay healthy. Other teams pose problems to Milwaukee, but Giannis can carry the Bucks a long way and then Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton will pick up the rest of the pieces. Out West, it’s a tough call between the Warriors and Suns, but I think the Warriors make it back to the finals because of the level of consistency that they play with year in year out. However, the Bucks will beat the Warriors in six games to get Giannis his second NBA title.

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