After a crazy, long off-season, the NBA season is finally here, and there has been a huge change in who the top teams are after certain teams have gone all in and certain teams have blown up their roster, and look for a rebuild. Here are my predictions for the 2022-2023 season and a look into each of the teams.
15: Utah Jazz 2022 49-33 Prediction: 24-58
The Utah Jazz completely blew up their roster this year, trading their 2 stars away in Donavan Mitchel and Rudy Gobert don’t expect anything from the Jazz this year as they are going through a full rebuild as will continue to look to trade away pieces like Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley as the season goes on.
14: OKC Thunder 2022 24-58 Prediction: 24-58
After picking up top Prospect Chet Holmgren, there was a lot of talk about the Thunder potentially jumping into a play-in spot this year that has quickly died out as Holmgren is out for the year due to injury with the loss of Holmgren the team has not changed much since last year beside star shooting guard Shai Gilgeous Alexander this is not much excitement on this roster.
13: Houston Rockets 2022 20-54 Prediction 24-58
The Rockets are knee-deep in a full rebuild and are starting to look up. That said, they are still a year away from returning to becoming a competitive team. They have plenty of young talent in players like Jabari Smith and Jae’Sean Tate, and they have one of the best up-and-coming duos in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.While they might not win many games, this will be a fun team to watch.
12: San Antonio Spurs 2022 34-48 Prediction 26-56
After things were starting to look up for the Spurs with the emergence of Dejounte Murray, they were completely at the bottom of the conference when they traded him to the Atlanta Hawks in June for forward Danilo Gallinari. All though they are not good, they have a lot of young talent in guys like Devin Vassel, Keldon Johnson, and maybe the steal of the draft in Ohio State standout Maliki Branham they are also backed by the best coach of all time in Greg Popovich so this team should still compete in most games.
11: Sacramento Kings 2022 30-52 Prediction 30-52
It’s been rough to be a Kings fan in the past two decades, and it will not get any easier this year. They have a solid duo in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, but they just don’t have a complete team around that. The Kings are lacking a player who can take over a win a game on himself, and I don’t think they are getting that consistently from either Fox or Sabonis. In fact, I think they messed up big time by trading away Tyrese Haliburton, who had the potential to be that guy for the Kings
10: Portland Trail Blazers 2022 27-55 Prediction 34-48
As long as Damian Lillard is on this team, the Trail Blazers will be competitive but far from good enough to even make the playoffs. Without him, the Blazers could not even crack 30 wins for the majority of last year. The Blazers are a fringe play-in team, and they have some solid pieces around Lillard, like Anfernee Simons and rookie Shaedon Sharpe, but they are far from enough to go anywhere.
9: Los Angeles Lakers 2022 33-49 Prediction 36-46
How the mighty have fallen in the span of 2 years– the Lakers have completely messed up their roster. Their terrible decision-making in the front office, letting LeBron practically run the show, and even worse player development has put the team in a state of mediocrity. The chemistry just does not fit right in this team, and one shouldn’t expect much from them this season. Their ceiling is probably a 6 seed.
- New Orleans Pelicans 2022 36-46 Prediction 44-38
The Pelicans were one of the biggest surprises last year, even without star forward Zion Willamson. With him coming back this year, I expect to see a big jump in the team’s performance. If Zion stays healthy, this Pelicans team can really cause some trouble in the first round.
- Minnesota Timberwolves 2022 46-36 Prediction 47-35
The Timberwolves are another team that is on the rise with their young duo of Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. With the addition of Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves should really compete in the West. The only issue is their depth is very questionable now after trading a lot of it away to Utah in turn for Gobert in guys like Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverly
- Dallas Mavericks 2022 52-30 Prediction 49-33
Last year, the Mavericks put together a great run to the Western Conference Finals on the back of star Luka Dončić. The only issue is they lost their second-best player, guard Jalen Brunson, to free agency. They did acquire some solid players like big man Christan Wood, but similar to the Timberwolves, their roster is just not up to par with the teams ahead of them even with Dončić the Mavs just don’t have enough to make a strong push again, expect this team to be very active in finding a second star before the trade deadline.
- Phoenix Suns 2022 64-18 Prediction 50-32
The Suns were probably the biggest disappointment of last year, as they were the heavy title favorites going into the playoffs. This was until getting absolutely embarrassed in a must-win game 7 at home to the Mavericks, and it is not that the Suns’ roster itself got worse it is just that all the team ahead of them continued to improve, and star point guard Chris Paul continues to get older. This Suns team is very good, but Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are going to have to be way more consistent come playoff time if they want to make it back to the NBA Finals.
- Memphis Grizzlies 2022 56-26 Prediction 50-32
Over the past three seasons, no team has improved like the Grizzlies. Ja Morant has completely turned this franchise back to the days of the Grit and Grind, and if it was not for them having to play a hungry Warriors team, they could have given any other team in Western Conference a real run for their money. Memphis will continue to be a good team, and this season will show a lot about the players on this team other than Ja Morant. Can defensive star Jaren Jackson Jr. finally break out, or can Dillion Brooks become more consistent on a day to day basis? This will truly decide how the Grizzlies will do in the playoffs.
- Denver Nuggets: 2022 48-34 Prediction 50-32
Whenever you have the back-to-back MVP on the team, you are bound to compete and be a top team in the league. And now, with the Nuggets finally getting healthy again as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr return, this could be the year fans finally see Nikola Jokic in the Finals. We know what his teammate Jamal Murray can do in the playoffs, but we have yet to see Jokic truly take over and carry the team during that time. The Nuggets have the talent to win it all, but can the team stay healthy and beat the teams that they need to win it all?
- Los Angeles Clippers 2022 42-40 Prediction 53-29
The Clippers are back and better than ever after missing Kawahi Leonard for the whole year he returns, and the Clippers look to go right back to being at the top of the conference. Paul George also looks to be healthy this year, as he was great whenever he was on the court. With head coach Tyrone Lue getting a fully healthy team against the Clippers. They have a very good chance of being the best team in the league. The only thing holding them back is injuries if they are healthy Clippers could very well win the Finals
- Golden State Warriors 2022 53-29 Prediction 56-26
The defending champs are back, and their roster remains largely the same except for the loss of Gary Payton jr and Juan Toscano Anderson in free agency. Outside of that, the Warriors are back and looking to go back-to-back for the second time in 10 years. And add the fifth ring to the Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green collection. People already know this team can win it all. The only thing holding them back is if their roster will be able to hold up, as there has already been a lot of turmoil between their stars, as Draymond Green and Jordan Poole got into a fistfight. If the Warriors don’t have Draymond, they won’t make it far in the playoffs.
15: Orlando Magic 2022 22-60 Prediction 30-52
For the first time in a long time, the Eastern Conference might legitimately be better than the West, and that is from bottom to top. The Magic are a young team with a lot of young talent, but it is very congested they have too many young guys that need playing time. Starting in the frontcourt, you have the number one pick, Paolo Banchero, along with young guys Chuma Okeke, Mo Bamba, and Wendell Carter jr. There is not that many minutes for these guys to have the playing time they deserve, and in the backcourt, it’s not any better with guys like Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton, and Markell Fultz. The Magic are a solid improving team, but a few years away from competing and need to figure out who the guys of the future are.
- Detroit Pistons 2022 23-59 Prediction 30-52
Similar to the Magic, the Pistons are young and improving but still a few years away from competing for a playoff spot, but unlike the Magic, they know their young core, and it is all centered around a future star in Cade Cunningham. This Pistons team has a lot of potential. They are littered with talent outside of Cade, with guys like Saddiq Bey, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, and much more. This Pistons team is going to have games where they compete with the best in the East, but they will also have games where they look like one of the worst in the league. They are still not going to be good or consistent enough to truly crack the playoffs yet, but the hope and potential are there.
- Indiana Pacers 2022 25-57 Prediction 32- 50
The Pacers are in the midst of a rebuild after getting rid of most of their talent over the past few seasons. All that remains is Myles Turner, who is almost guaranteed to be gone by the trade deadline due to him being too good for his talents to be wasted away on one of the worst teams. The Pacers still have great young players with guys like Tyreese Haliburton and Chris Duarte, who can carry this team to more wins than expected, but this team is very similar to the previous teams listed where they are still a few years away from competing.
- Washington Wizards 2022 35-47 Prediction 32-50
Although they have Bradley Beal, the Wizards are stuck in this state of mediocrity, and it will not get any better this year. They have a solid duo in Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal, but outside of that, it’s very iffy. Rookie Johnny Davis has a lot to prove to be the successor to John Wall, and he does not have much help around him besides the two previously mentioned players. Hopefully, this is the year Washington decides to blow it up and start rebuilding.
- Charlotte Hornets 2022 43-39 Prediction 34-48
The Charlotte Hornets had another year of progression last year, but it ended with the same result, losing in the play-in. And during the offseason, they lost a lot of guys due to some off-the-court issues like Miles Bridges and James Bouknight. This is going to lead to some regression as there is just not enough there to help out Lamelo enough besides Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward.
- New York Knicks 2022 37-45 Prediction 41-41
The New York Knicks were probably the biggest disappointment of the season last year after shocking everyone and making the playoffs, they were expected to build on that year and continue to get better. Instead, they completely fell and did not even make the play in. This year will probably be around the same finish but a play-in spot this time due to the improvement of RJ Barret and the solid off-season signing of Jalen Brunson. This Knicks team is very average as of right now, but they have the potential to be very competitive in the East.
- Toronto Raptors 2022 48-34 Prediction 43-39
The Raptors surprised a lot of people last season after they somehow jumped all the way to the fifth seed in the East. They have a very solid core of experienced veterans. With guys like Pascal Siakam, Fred Van Fleet, OG Anunoby, and reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, this Raptors team is good but far from great though, as they do not have a true star to truly carry this team come playoff time.
- Atlanta Hawks 2022 43-39 Prediction 44-38
After making the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2021 season, the Hawks took a step back in 2022 after losing in the first round to the Miami Heat, but they went out and made a big splash during the offseason, trading for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray. On paper, this is a good deal, but it adds some concern to the backcourt. Both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray are point guards who need the ball in their hands to be successful on offense, and with two ball-dominant guards that are used to being the guy on their own teams, it could get hard to give them both the time they need to be the ball handler. I don’t see much changing for the Hawks this year.
- Chicago Bulls 2022 46-36 Prediction 46-36
The Bulls were hot to start off last year, having a secure spot at the top of the East during the all-star break. After that, it was all downhill, Chicago completely collapsing as they fell all the way to the sixth seed and got absolutely embarrassed by the Bucks, who were without Khris Middleton for most of the series. The Bulls are the definition of a good, not great team, they have two great scorers in Lavine and DeRozan, but they lack a good defense, and point guard Lonzo Ball continues to stay out with a knee injury until the Bulls figure out how to stay healthy and play defense they won’t be able to make it out of the first round.
- Brooklyn Nets 2022 44-38 Prediction 47-35
The Nets are in a very weird position. They have one of the best duos in the NBA, but after that, it gets very lackluster. Ben Simmons is very underwhelming as your third-best player as he continues to somehow decline at the age of 26, and they just don’t have much else behind that. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will be able to carry them to the Playoffs, but after that, it will be very hard for them to make a run in the playoffs.
- Miami Heat 2022 53-29 Prediction 48-34
The Heat had an amazing regular season as they finished as the number 1 seed in the East, but after that, they fell in an extremely hard-fought series against the Boston Celtics, where their offense seemed to struggle a lot. They failed to improve over the off-season, and overall the Heat will probably be a bit worse from last year due to other teams improving. As long as Jimmy Butler is there, they will always compete, especially in the Playoffs. For the Heat to get back to the Finals, they need one of their young guys, Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro, to truly break out into a true second option.
- Cleveland Cavaliers 2022 44-38 Prediction 48-34
Clevland made the move of the offseason when they acquired Donavan Mitchell, creating a very good and very young core for the Cavs. Every starter on this team has all-star potential, and they even have great depth with reserves like Kevin Love and Caris Levert. The Cavs should be right in the mix for the top spot in the East and should compete in the playoffs I don’t know if they will make a run in this core’s first playoff appearance, but they will at some point this is a team that should be atop the East for years to come.
- Boston Celtics 2022 51-31 Prediction 50-32
The Defending Eastern Conference champions ran into some trouble this offseason after Danillo Gallinari blew out his knee playing in Europe. And the bad luck did not end: their center Robert Willams is out for an extended period with a knee injury, and coach Ime Udoka is suspended for the year after violating team rules. This will not matter much, though, as Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown are both still all NBA-level players and have fantastic depth with back-ups like Malcolm Brogdon and Grant Willams. The Celtics should still be atop the East and be able to make another run to the Conference Finals.
- Philadelphia 76ers 2022 51-31 Prediction 51-32
Joel Embiid is back and is out for vengeance. After arguably being snubbed from the MVP in back-to-back years, he is one of the favorites to win it, and for good reason. Embiid takes this team to a whole new level, and now with an entire season of James Harden, the Sixers should be even scarier. Philly is loaded with talent from top to bottom, making them a nightmare matchup for most teams. If Embiid gets the help he needs, Philly could be on their way to the NBA Finals.
- Milwaukee Bucks 2022 51-31 2022 57-25
The Milwaukee Bucks have something that no other team in the NBA has–Giannis Antetokounmpo, hands-down the best player in the league at this point as he is looking to make it two NBA finals wins in three years. The Bucks don’t have many weaknesses besides potential injuries. Injuries plagued this team last year and kept them from returning to the Finals. As long as they stay healthy, the Bucks should be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference as they have so much talent outside Giannis in guys like Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Khris Middelton come playoff time there’s one thing the Bucks need to figure out, and that is can Khris Middelton consistently be that second star on the team. There are too many times that he gets bailed out by Giannis when he is having a down game. He needs to be better if the Bucks want to go all the way.
Most Valuable Player: Joel Embiid Philidelphia 76ers
Defensive Player of the Year: Jaren Jackson Jr Memphis Grizzlies
6th Man of the Year: Christan Wood Dallas Mavericks
Most Improved: Ayo Dosumu Chicago Bulls
Rookie of the Year: Palolo Banchero
Warriors beat Pelicans in 5 games
Suns beat Grizzlies in 7 games
Nuggets beat Mavericks in 6 games
Clippers beat Timberwolves in 5
Bucks beat Hawks in 4 games
Heat beats Cavaliers in 6
Celtics beat Nets in 5
76ers beat Bulls in 5
Warriors beat Suns in 6
Clippers beat Nuggets in 5
Bucks beat Miami in 5
76ers beat Celtics in 7
Clippers beat Warriors in 6
Bucks beats 76ers in 7
Clippers beat Bucks in 6
Finals MVP: Kawhi Leonard, as he is the only player who can lock up Antetokounmpo consistently in a seven-game series