Tag Archives: Golden State Warriors

NBA 2022-2023 Season Preview

By Sam Morris

Sam Morris is from Madison Heights, Michigan, and is an undergraduate student at BGSU majoring in Sports Management. He has a passion for sports writing and journalism. In his free time, he also performs, writes, and produces his own raps for the music industry club at BGSU.

October 18, 2022

2021-2022 Season

Last NBA season ended with Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA title 4 games to 2 over the Boston Celtics for their 4th title in the last 8 years. It was also Curry’s first time in those 4 championships that he has won the NBA Finals MVP. The Celtics were denied their chance to break their championship tie with the Los Angeles Lakers as both teams have won 17 championships. There are many interesting storylines for this upcoming season including offseason trades, off-court drama, new head coaches, and potential future stars. The following article predicts power rankings from worst to best for each NBA team in the upcoming 2022-2023 season NBA that started on October 18th.

Ranking System

To make this power ranking as statistically accurate as possible, I have assigned a point value based on each team’s ranking. To get to this point value, the team’s 5 starters and 3 best reserves’ points per game (PPG), assists per game (APG), and rebounds per game (RPG) from the 2021-2022 season have been added up to get a total value for each player. These stats can be found on ESPN.com by clicking on each team and then going to their depth chart and selecting the individual player. For example, James Harden averaged 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 10.3 APG last season so his total value in this power ranking is 40.0. The top 8 players’ values from each team were then added to create the team’s total point value for the power ranking which is displayed in italics next to the team’s name. Additionally, if a player was injured the majority or entirety of last season, then his value reverts to his averages from his last played season. If a team uses a rookie in their top 8 rotation this season, the rookie’s value will be given through his projected averages for this season. Below, each team’s portion of the power ranking will be a playoff prediction, the biggest takeaways of the team’s offseason, the team’s 2021-2022 record, and how many players they have in the top 100 in the league which was also calculated using the same point value system above

30. Indiana Pacers (143.9)    2021-2022 Record: (25-57)

Top 100 Players: (57) PG Tyrese Haliburton (15.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 8.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Bennedict Mathurin 6th overall to help rebuild as they lack depth and defense after trading Sabonis to the Kings.

29. Utah Jazz (144.5)   2021-2022 Record: (49-33)

Top 100 Players: (99) SG Jordan Clarkson (16.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

-Offseason Takeaway: The Jazz offseason was pretty simple, they traded away Donavon Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert to start a complete rebuild.

28. San Antonio Spurs (145.7)    2021-2022 Record: (34-48)

– Top 100 Players: (79) PF Keldon Johnson (17.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.1 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Jeremy Sochan 9th overall to help with shooting, will probably still be one of the worst Spurs’ teams Popovich has ever coached with very little firepower besides Johnson.

27. Houston Rockets (147.9)    2021-2022 Record: (20-62)

– Top 100 Players: (91) PG Kevin Porter Jr. (15.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.2 APG)

(71) PF Jabari Smith, Jr. (#3 Overall Pick – Auburn)

(66) SG Jalen Green (17.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Slipped to third in the draft after having the worst record, but still got their preferred prospect in Smith. Green and Smith should be a dynamic young duo on a team with little to no depth.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (159.3)    2021-2022 Record: (24-58)

– Top 100 Players: (62) SG Josh Giddey (12.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 6.4 APG)

(32) PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.9 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: #2 overall pick Chet Holmgren should make this team one of the more interesting and potentially dangerous young teams soon with Giddey and SGA in the backcourt; however, his injury will make this team even less of a contender than they already were in the loaded Western conference.

25. Charlotte Hornets (167.6)    2021-2022 Record: (43-39)

– Top 100 Players (56) SG Terry Rozier (19.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.5 APG)

(30) PG La Melo Ball (20.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Miles Bridges’ arrest has halted negotiations for a deal with the Hornets and will take a toll on this team that was trending in the right direction last season. Statistically, they still have one of the worst defenses in the league.

24. New York Knicks (172.8)    2021-2022 Record: (37-45)

– Top 100 Players: (77) PG Jalen Brunson (16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.8 APG)

(51) SF R.J Barrett (20.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 APG)

(50) PF Julius Randle (20.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 5.1 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Barrett is coming off the best season of his career, but Randle regressed from his 2020-2021 comeback season. The Knicks brought in Brunson and his dad as an assistant coach to help in the backcourt but the chemistry between these three players will need time to gel.

23. Washington Wizards (175.0)    2021-2022 Record: (35-47)

– Top 100 Players: (58) PF Kyle Kuzma (17.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(47) C Kristaps Porzingis (20.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.3 APG)

(23) SG Bradley Beal (23.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Beal resigned with the Wizards in the offseason which solidifies veteran leadership and skill for a young team otherwise. If Porzingis can stay healthy as their interior post player, the Wizards could make the play-in. However, that is a big-if as he has never played a full-season in his career.

22. Sacramento Kings (177.1)    2021-2022 Record: (30-52)

– Top 100 Players: (93) SF Harrison Barnes (16.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG)

(42) PG De’Aaron Fox (23.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.6 APG)

(33) C Domantas Sabonis (18.9 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 5.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafting Keegan Murray 4th overall could be an X-factor for the Kings’ front court that already has a rising star in Sabonis. Also signed Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk to help with depth. The Kings will likely improve greatly from their previous record but will have a tough time making the play-in.

21. Detroit Pistons (177.9)    2021-2022 Record: (23-59)

– Top 100 Players: (96) PF Bojan Bogdanovic (18.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG)

(85) SF Saddiq Bey (16.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(73) SG Jaden Ivey (#5 Overall Pick – Purdue)

(49) PG Cade Cunningham (17.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Jaden Ivey 5th overall to create an explosive young backcourt with their previous #1 overall pick Cade Cunningham. Also signed Bogdanovic from the Jazz to get veteran leadership since their starting 5 is the youngest in the league with an average age of 23.6. Will likely battle with the Magic for the last play-in spot in the East and should be a very interesting young core in the following year as they also drafted center Jalen Duren 13th overall from Memphis.

20. Denver Nuggets (178.8)    2021-2022 Record: (48-34)

– Top 100 Players: (54) PG Jamal Murray (21.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.8 APG)

(1) C Nikola Jokic (27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 7.9 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-In Tournament

– Offseason Takeaway: Murray and the extremely inconsistent Michael Porter Jr. will both be back from injuries this season and will need to help the 2021-2022 MVP Nikola Jokic to bolster this offense if they want to make it out of the play-in tournament. Additionally, Jokic is rated 1st on this power ranking in total value as he nearly averaged a triple double last season. His value alone is a 48.8, which would be 33.9% of the Pacers 143.9 total value as an entire team

19. Orlando Magic (180.9)    2021-2022 Record: (22-60)

– Top 100 Players: (97) SF Franz Wagner (15.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.9 APG)

(67) PG Cole Anthony (16.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.7 APG)

(65) C Wendell Carter Jr. (15.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(53) PF Paolo Banchero (#1 Overall Pick – Duke)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-in tournament

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Banchero #1 overall in the 2022 draft to go with their young core of Anthony, Wagner, and Suggs. They could make the play-in tournament this season and their talent is ahead of some of the lower-level teams in the Eastern conference. However, they are still a couple years away from being a contender if their young talent become stars.

18. Portland Trail Blazers (181.6)    2021-2022 Record: (27-55)

– Top 100 Players: (89) SG Anfernee Simons (17.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.9 APG)

(75) SF Josh Hart (14.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.1 APG)

(70) PF Jerami Grant (19.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 APG)

(68) C Jusuf Nurkic (15.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(21) PG Damian Lilliard (24.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-in tournament

– Offseason Takeaway: Lilliard said he wants to be a Blazer for life this offseason. The Blazers also signed Jerami Grant and drafted Shaedon Sharpe 7th overall. They have a talented starting lineup but lack a true second star to pair with Lilliard, following CJ McCollum’s departure to New Orleans.

17. Dallas Mavericks (182.5)    2021-2022 Record: (52-30)

– Top 100 Players: (94) SG Spencer Dinwiddie (13.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.2 APG)

(39) C Christian Wood (17.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 5.3 APG)

(4) PG Luka Doncic (28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Mavs got smoked by the Warriors in the Western Finals last year. Despite adding Wood in the offseason as a dependable double-double threat, they have lost both Porzingis and Brunson to lower-level Eastern conference teams in search of bigger pay days. Like Jokic with the Nuggets, Doncic will have to carry the team on his back until the trade deadline where hopefully owner Mark Cuban can maneuver a trade to obtain a second star like so many other western conference teams have.

16. Phoenix Suns (183.2)    2021-2022 Record: (64-18)

– Top 100 Players: (52) PG Chris Paul (14.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.8 APG)

(48) C DeAndre Ayton (17.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.4APG)

(16) SG Devin Booker (26.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.8 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Suns are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they have been the 1 seed in the Western Conference. They also were rumored to add Kevin Durant this offseason, but the deals fell through. Paul is going into his age 37 season and the depth around him and Booker has deteriorated with McGee, Kaminsky, and Aaron Holiday all on different rosters this season. They could make a run but need a consistent Paul to continue to play at an all-star level.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (184.6)    2021-2022 Record: (46-36)

– Top 100 Players: (63) PG D’Angelo Russell (18.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 7.1 APG)

(43) SG Anthony Edwards (21.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.8 APG)

(35) C Rudy Gobert (15.6 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 1.1 APG)

(14) PF Karl-Anthony Towns (24.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Timberwolves traded multiple role players and draft picks to get Gobert so they will have one of the best rebounding and defensive teams in the league when he is paired with Towns. However, their speed, depth, and agility will all take a hit this season because of the trade.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (186.8)    2021-2022 Record: (56-26)

– Top 100 Players: (83) SF Dillon Brooks (18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(82) SG Desmond Bane (18.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG)

(9) PG Ja Morant (27.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Grizzlies lost De’Anthony Melton to the Sixers and as a result will be weaker defensively and in depth. The season’s success will depend on how much of a superstar Morant will become in his age 23 season and whether Bane and Brooks continue their upward trajectory. The Grizzlies are an unpredictable team as they could have a deep playoff run or get bounced in the quarters.

13. Los Angeles Lakers (186.9)    2021-2022 Record: (33-49)

– Top 100 Players: (45) PG Russell Westbrook (18.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.1 APG)

(19) C Anthony Davis (23.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 3.1 APG)

(5) PF LeBron James (30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 6.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: Rated 0.1 point higher than the Grizzlies, the Lakers have the oldest starting lineup in the league with an average age of 31.2. LeBron said this offseason he wants to play wherever his sons play before he retires, so the Lakers may be on a short window to win another championship during LeBron’s tenure on the team. Westbrook will have to figure out how to blend his game with LeBron’s and Davis’ or he might be traded by the deadline.

12. Chicago Bulls (187.3)    2021-2022 Record: (46-36)

– Top 100 Players: (92) PG Lonzo Ball (13.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.1 APG)

(38) C Nikola Vucevic (17.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.2 APG)

(26) SG Zach LaVine (24.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.5 APG)

(12) SF DeMar DeRozan (27.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.9 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-in tournament

– Offseason Takeaway:  Bulls signed Andre Drummond to help bolster their depth at the Center position. They have a lot of talent on the wings but will need their stars to stay healthy as Lonzo and LaVine are constantly getting injured.

11. Miami Heat (188.1)    2021-2022 Record: (53-29)

– Top 100 Players: (72) PG Kyle Lowry (13.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 7.5 APG)

(44) SG Tyler Herro (20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG)

(31) C Bam Adebayo (19.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.4 APG)

(28) PF Jimmy Butler (21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.5 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: After Kevin Durant said he wanted out of Brooklyn, the Heat were the other major market team besides the Suns having talks with Durant during the offseason. While the Durant deal didn’t work out, they are still one of the most formidable teams in the East that has a lot of talented teams at the top of this power ranking. They would be higher on this list, but Lowry and Butler’s production will likely go down as they age, and their bench is not as great defensively as similar teams like the Raptors and Bucks; the Heat bench consists primarily of wing shooters like Duncan Robinson and Victor Oladipo.

10. Milwaukee Bucks (188.8)    2021-2022 Record: (51-31)

– Top 100 Players: (46) PG Jrue Holiday (18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.8 APG)

(37) SF Khris Middleton (20.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.4 APG)

(2) PF Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.8 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Bucks didn’t really make any offseason moves so they could get passed up by some teams that traded for stars, like the Hawks and Cavs . Antetokounmpo will likely continue to dominate and if Middleton and Holiday back him up like they did last season, they will be a top 10 team this year.  

9. Toronto Raptors (190.3)    2021-2022 Record: (48-34)

– Top 100 Players: (100) SG Gary Trent Jr. (18.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG)

(95) SF O.G Anunoby (17.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.6 APG)

(60) PF Scottie Barnes (15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(36) PG Fred VanVleet (20.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.7 APG)

(18) C Pascal Siakam (22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 5.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: As mentioned in the Heat’s power ranking, the Raptors have an extremely deep bench that is good defensively with players like Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa. Adding Otto Porter Jr. from the Warriors only helps their depth even more. Their success this season will depend on whether last year’s rookie of the year Scottie Barnes can take his game a step up and if Siakam can continue his production.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (194.2)    2021-2022 Record: (36-46)

– Top 100 Players: (41) C Jonas Valanciunas (17.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.6 APG)

(34) PG C.J McCollum (22.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.1 APG)

(25) SF Brandon Ingram (22.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG)

(24) PF Zion Williamson (27.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: The Pelicans will likely be one of the most improved teams this season if they can stay healthy. Zion is finally back and pairing him for the first time with a dynamic guard like McCollum will be interesting. Ingram has become a superstar while Herb Jones and Valanciunas supply even more defense to go along with the rebounding ability of the 6’6 280-pound Williamson. They are not quite top 5 because their bench is not nearly as good as some of the top tier teams, and we have yet to see Zion play a full season.  

7. Brooklyn Nets (196.2)    2021-2022 Record: (44-38)

– Top 100 Players: (64) PF Ben Simmons (14.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 9.9 APG)

(17) PG Kyrie Irving (27.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.8 APG)

(6) SF Kevin Durant (29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 6.4 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: It feels like everything the Nets do is in the offseason and off the court. Arguably the biggest story of the entire off season was Durant asking to be moved from Brooklyn just weeks after he practically begged Sean Marks and the front office to let Kyrie stay on the team. Durant eventually re-signed with Brooklyn after no deals could get done with Phoenix or Miami. Kyrie will be able to play this season because of the retracted vaccine mandates, Joe Harris will be coming back off his season long injury last season, and Ben Simmons will also be able to play for the first time in over a year as he is coming off his mental health hiatus and back injury. The Nets also boosted their bench with Royce O’Neale and have kept Patty Mills and Seth Curry under contract. Like the previous years when James Harden was on the team, the Nets have a ton of talent, but also a ton of questions over team chemistry.  

6. Cleveland Cavaliers (196.4)    2021-2022 Record: (44-38)

– Top 100 Players: (98) SF Caris LeVert (17.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.3 APG)

(78) PF Evan Mobley (15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG)

(61) C Jarrett Allen (16.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.6 APG)

(27) PG Darius Garland (21.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 8.6 APG)

(20) SG Donovan Mitchell (25.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: The Cavaliers signed Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in the off-season’s blockbuster trade. What they lost in Markkanen and Sexton were two starters that will easily be replaced by one of the leagues best shooting guards. Pairing Mitchell with one of the most improved players of last season in Darius Garland will make for one of the league’s most talented backcourts. The Cavs also have a great wing shooter in LeVert, while Mobley, Allen, and Love will make for a great rebounding and defensive frontcourt.   

5. Atlanta Hawks (196.6)    2021-2022 Record: (43-39)

– Top 100 Players: (90) C Clint Capela (11.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 1.2 APG)

(74) PF John Collins (16.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 APG)

(22) SG DeJounte Murray (21.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 9.2 APG)

(7) PG Trae Young (28.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: The Hawks traded away Kevin Huerter to Sacramento which will affect the depth of their shooting but when you have Trae Young and DeJounte Murray, the Hawks’ shooting is still pretty solid. With Murray as the SG, the Hawks finally have a solidified second star to pair with Young and they could make a deep run this season.

4. Boston Celtics (198.4)    2021-2022 Record: (51-31)

– Top 100 Players: (81) SG Malcolm Brogdon (19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.9 APG)

(40) PG Marcus Smart (19.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 APG)

(29) SF Jaylen Brown (23.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(10) PF Jayson Tatum (26.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.4 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Eastern Conference Finals

– Offseason Takeaway: Coming off a season where the Celtics reached the NBA Finals but lost 4 games to 2 to the Warriors, the Celtics added Blake Griffin in the offseason. This addition isn’t what’s significant however, it is the fact that the Celtics have kept the exact same starting lineup and top 4 bench players as last season’s finals team. Brown and Tatum should continue to improve as one of the league’s most dynamic duos and statistically the Celtics should be able to make a deep run in the Eastern Conference again. The coaching situation in Boston is the biggest question mark. With Ime Udoka getting fired in the offseason for having a consensual sexual relationship with a staff member, the momentum from last season will shift into the hands of new interim head coach Joe Mazzula who has spent only 3 seasons in the NBA as an assistant for Boston.  

3. Philadelphia 76ers (199.4)    2021-2022 Record: (51-31)

– Top 100 Players: (88) PG Tyrese Maxey (17.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.3 APG)

(69) SF Tobias Harris (17.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(8) SG James Harden (22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG)

(3) C Joel Embiid (30.6 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 4.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Eastern Conference Champions, NBA Finals runner-up

– Offseason Takeaway: James Harden took a pay reduction in the offseason to stay with the Sixers and to keep their team strong as it allowed the front office to keep P.J Tucker and Tobias Harris. Harden’s narrative over the past few seasons was that he was a particularly selfish player with the Nets and Rockets and this move has changed a lot of critics’ minds about him. If Harden really commits to staying in shape, his production will likely go up from last season where he posted his lowest PPG since his 2011-2012 season when he was still a part of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This year is perhaps the most important year for the Sixers to reach the NBA Finals in the Embiid era as contracts will began to expire and Harden will continue to age. Embiid is at his prime right now and led the league in PPG last season, something that Harden did 3 years consecutively from 2018-2020. The Sixers also have one of the better defensive teams with Matisse Thybulle and P.J Tucker along with Embiid’s ability to block shots.

2. Golden State Warriors (202.8)    2021-2022 Record: (53-29)

– Top 100 Players: (86) SF Andrew Wiggins (17.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 APG)

(76) SG Jordan Poole (18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.0 APG)

(59) SG Klay Thompson (20.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(13) PG Stephen Curry (25.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Western Conference Finals

– Offseason Takeaway: Well, it’s been an interesting offseason for Golden State to say the least. The Warriors were last year’s NBA Champions, winning the title for the 4th time in the last 8 years with the big three of Curry, Thompson, and Green. Curry also broke Ray Allen’s 3-point record last season and comes into the season with the same starting lineup as last year. What’s scary about the Warriors is that they have 4 young bench players all between the ages of 20-23 who are all capable of starter-level production on most teams. This includes the former Michigan SG Jordan Poole who averaged 18.5 PPG off the bench last season. Poole saw a significant increase in playing time with Thompson’s injury in the first half of the season and took advantage of that opportunity and has solidified his role as a dominant shooter and wing in this explosive offense. However, in an offseason practice, Poole and Green got into an argument when Poole was bragging over his new 4-year 140-million-dollar extension. Green punched Poole and was suspended for the team’s preseason. Despite Poole stating that they have resolved the conflict and will move forward, the team’s chemistry will be a question going forward.

1. Los Angeles Clippers (204.2)    2021-2022 Record: (42-40)

– Top 100 Players: (87) SF Norman Powell (19.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.1 APG)

(84) PG Reggie Jackson (16.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.8 APG)

(55) PG John Wall (20.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 6.9 APG)

(15) SG Paul George (24.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 5.7 APG)

(11) SF Kawhi Leonard (24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 7.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Western Conference Champion, NBA Finals Champion – Offseason Takeaway: The top team in the preseason power rankings is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers made the play-in tournament last season before getting bounced by the Timberwolves. However, that was without a healthy Paul George and without Kawhi Leonard. Now both superstars will be back on the court with a team that has added John Wall and resigned Norman Powell. The Clippers’ depth is impressive with 8 players over 10 PPG last season on their roster. Their depth is so good that Powell and Wall will likely be backups and are both top 100 players in the league in this power ranking. Jackson, George, and Leonard all provide quality playoff experience and high-level talent, where Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac provide size and veteran leadership in the front court. The Clippers’ bench goes even deeper with Robert Covington being an elite defender and Luke Kennard and Terance Mann being elite level wing shooters. Overall, the Clippers have the right combination of star power, leadership, and depth to win this year’s NBA Championship in a year where the top half of teams on this list seem like viable contenders.


Way Too Early Playoff Seeding Predictions for the 2022-2023 NBA Season

By Kalen Lumpkins

Kalen is a fourth year BGSU student from Toledo, Ohio. He is a sports management major with a minor in journalism. His primary sport interests include football and tennis, but he also has an interest in a wide variety in other sports, from baseball to hockey. His dream job outside of college is to be a sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

October 18, 2022

Maxwell Media Watch

It is finally that time of the year for basketball fans. After an insane off-season, it is understandable that fans are eager to see how this year will play out. There are plenty of lingering questions that are set to be answered this season as well. Can the Warriors dynasty continue their dominance? How will the Celtics do without Ime Udoka on the sidelines? Can the Lakers bounce back? Who will be MVP? It is a long season, so we are not going to have these answers immediately. However, if you want something to base your season predictions on, I am here to help. Without further ado, here is how I see the NBA regular season playing out.

Eastern Conference Standings

  1. Boston Celtics (58-24)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (56-26)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (55-27)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31)
  5. Brooklyn Nets (49-33)
  6. Miami Heat (47-35)
  7. Atlanta Hawks (44-38)
  8. New York Knicks (42-40)

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  1. Boston has had a roller coaster offseason after their Finals loss to the Warriors. They signed a much-needed playmaking guard in Malcom Brogdon and filled what seems to be the only hole in the Celtics roster. They also signed a quality shooter in Danilo Gallinari, but then the forward tore his ACL a few weeks later. Jaylen Brown was almost traded in a package deal offer for Kevin Durant that fell through, so there could be tension between him and the front office. Add-on the widely known suspension of Ime Udoka, and you have a team that is riddled with questions going into the season. Despite all the drama, I expect Brogdon’s presence to greatly improve the Celtics’ gameplan, including getting better looks for Jayson Tatum. The Celtics leader was shut down by Golden State in the finals, and that is surely still on his mind. Expect an MVP caliber season from #0 (Tatum) and expect interim coach Joe Mazzulla to continue to emphasize their defensive approach. 

2. Speaking of MVPs, the two-time award winner Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything he could to bring the Bucks to another Finals, but the absence of Khris Middleton proved too much as they fell to Boston in game 7 of the second round. Despite the loss, Milwaukee decided to run it back by bringing 16 of the 20 players that were on their roster last season. The Bucks have proven that they can win when they are healthy. It’s getting healthy that seems to be the problem. Middleton is recovering from wrist surgery, Joe Ingles is still battling his ACL tear, Brook Lopez missed some preseason games because of an ankle injury among other injuries. When this team is not 100%, it shows, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucks dropped from 1st to 13th in points allowed at the rim after injuries to Lopez and George Hill. Despite the struggles, having Giannis on the team hides the defensive struggles. We will see how he elevates his game this season, and the continuation of Mike Budenholzer’s defensive schemes should keep Milwaukee in the championship picture.

3. The East was the most competitive it has been in years last season, with the second, third and fourth seed all posting 51-31 records. One game made the difference for these teams last year, and it begs the question of what last year could have been for the Sixers. After a (somewhat) dominant series against the Raptors, Philly would lose steam and fall to Miami in the second round. Joel Embiid missing time of course did not help, but the biggest flaw for the Sixers was the presence of James Harden. Or lack thereof. In the series, he averaged just 18 PPG on 40% shooting. We did see a flash of ‘prime’ Harden in Game 4, where he scored 31 points and carried Philly to even the series in Embiid’s absence. The key to this year for the Sixers will be James Harden performing on a consistent basis, and I think he will surprise everyone and show that he still has it. Embiid will be, well Embiid, and these two factors will make the Sixers a legitimate threat to the Celtics and Bucks.

4. Last season was a success for the Cavaliers, despite losing two games in the play-in tourney and ultimately missing the playoffs. The big three of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley made Cleveland a force on defense while also controlling the paint. The Cavs can find success in the East with these three, but a missing piece needed to be filled for them to be championship contenders. Flash forward to today, and they may have filled that void with the signing of Donovan Mitchell. The addition of the former Jazz star means that Cleveland now has a presence in the paint, outside the key and beyond the perimeter, and I think opposing defenses will have a hard time covering all three parts of the court per game. Depth will be an issue, especially come playoff time, but the ceiling of the Cavs with those four on the floor is highest among teams that missed the post season last year.

5. The Brooklyn Nets beat the Cavaliers in the first play-in tourney game last season to become the 7-seed to set up what could have been one of the best playoff series of all time against Boston. Long story short, it was not, as they would get swept by the Celtics instead. And that is when turmoil almost happened in Brooklyn. Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant stated their displeasure with the organization and almost went to different teams. While both players ended up staying, it remains to be seen how they will perform on a team they may or may not want to be a part of the following season. Best case scenario is that the team strives, and the additions of Ben Simmons and Seth Curry pay dividends. Worst case scenario is that the Nets do not improve, and Brooklyn loses two of the best players in NBA history for nothing in return. I expect something in the middle with the Nets as the 5-seed going against the Cavs.

6. The Heat finished last season one game from the NBA Finals but fell to the Celtics in game 7. In that series, it was clear that there was not a consistent threat in Miami offensively besides Jimmy Butler. I expected the Heat to go to work to find that piece, like a Donovan Mitchell or even Jalen Brunson, but ended up with an uneventful offseason. Due to this, I expect a drop of quality for the team. They will still make the playoffs as a 6-seed, but until there’s a true number two in Miami, they will not get over the hump.

7. Atlanta is coming off an underwhelming year of their own after making the Eastern Conference Finals the season before. John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic are becoming quality pieces for the Hawks, but I think Trae Young has yet to take that next step in his game. He is an unstoppable force when his shots go in but his decision making still needs to improve. For example, when they were down against Miami in their playoff series, Young would try shots from the logo to spark something for the offense. In general, he has had far too many ugly games in important situations, and I think that trend will continue this year. The Hawks could have a title contending team, but that will be determined by Trae Young’s play.

8. For the Knicks, where Trae Young is still public enemy #1, they will look to improve on last year’s letdown after making the playoffs the prior season. New York was able to pick up help for Julius Randle with the acquisition of Jalen Brunson. I still think Brunson needs to prove himself, but players like R.J Barrett and Obi Toppin will take some pressure off the former Dallas star. Expect the Knicks to improve this year and become possibly one of the top 5 seeds in the 2023-24 campaign.

Western Conference Standings  

  1. Golden State Warriors (65-17)
  2. Denver Nuggets (59-23)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)
  4. Memphis Grizzlies (52-30)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves (50-32)
  6. Phoenix Suns (47-35)
  7. New Orleans Pelicans (46-36)
  8. Dallas Mavericks (43-39)

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  1. After putting together one of the best offensive clinics in NBA history, the Warriors are prepared to run it back as the defending champs for the fourth time in eight seasons. All seemed to be well in San Francisco, until Draymond Green decided to punch Jordan Poole during a practice. Green said after the incident that both will take a professional approach and continue to focus on the team. The impact of the punch to the team remains to be seen, but this group, especially the big three (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green) have been through enough to overcome this situation. With that being said, I expect the Warriors to continue to be an offensive juggernaut, and I cannot see any team in the West being able to win four games against this team.  

2. It has been an unfortunate couple of postseasons for the Nuggets. With injuries to Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray lingering in the past two seasons, Denver would be eliminated twice in the first round, winning just one game across both series. This season, however, they come at (mostly) full strength. We all saw what Jamal Murray can do after watching his play in the bubble, while Porter Jr. brings back his defensive prowess. Staying healthy will remain the focal point for the Nuggets, but at full strength they can be a large challenge on both sides of the ball. Oh, and Nikola Jokic will be going for his third straight MVP trophy. Expect Denver to have a breakout season.

3. Even though the Clippers missed the postseason, last year was still a success for LA in my eyes. Being able to win 42 games without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard shows how good this team can really be with the big 2 on the floor. This team also has depth behind Kawhi and PG as well, with players like Reggie Jackson, Terrance Mann, and new signee John Wall. Being a balanced team on both sides of the ball, the Clippers are going to be a force to be reckoned with. I think people are overlooking this squad, and I truly believe that they are the biggest threat to Golden State in the west when healthy.

4. The Grizzlies had one of their best seasons in franchise history last year, and Ja Morant’s huge elevation in his game is a part of the reason for that. What would have happened in their series with the Warriors had Morant not missed time will be the biggest ‘what if’ for Memphis fans, but I expect them to be able to rebound and keep the same defensive identity they did last year. The absence of Jaren Jackson Jr. to start the season will be noticed, but when he returns, this team will have a chip on their shoulder. I also do expect Ja Morant to be an MVP finalist.

5. The Grizzlies’ first round opponent last season was the Minnesota Timberwolves and they put on a phenomenal series. The Timberwolves would fall short, and it was mostly because of poor decision making. Players like Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony Towns tried to play too much ‘hero ball,’ attempting to carry the team instead of creating quality shots. In other words, the maturity levels between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves were as bright as day. This year, however, I expect the players to take a step forward mentally and become a top five offense on the league. I still think that defense is a concern, despite Minnesota’s bust in free agency, but the players performing more as a team will make up for the flaws on the other side of the ball.

6. I do not think anyone expected game 7 in the Western Conference second round to turn out the way it did. Especially no one in Phoenix. After being on the wrong side of one of the biggest blowouts in NBA postseason history, the Suns are looking to get back to the NBA Finals like they did two seasons ago. The Suns are bringing pretty much everyone back from last season, including a huge signing with Deandre Ayton. However, it seems that opposing teams have been able to figure out Monty Williams’ gameplan quicker than a couple seasons ago. Devin Booker will make sure to keep the Suns in contention, but I predict a decrease in quality for the Suns this season.

7. On paper, the Pelicans can become one of the most improved teams in the league and a legitimate championship contender. In reality, the floor and ceiling for this team solely depends on the health of Zion Williamson. That has not proven to be a good thing to bank on given that he has only played 85 games in three seasons, including missing the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign. Without Zion, the Pelicans held their own by making the playoffs and taking the Suns to six games. The additions of CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram have proven to be gold, but there still seems to be a missing piece and intensity that only Zion can fill. I have New Orleans as the 7-seed because even if Zion misses significant time again, I expect the players to know what to do and still be a quality team. If Zion plays for a majority of the season, however, the Pelicans can surprise many.

8. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, I expect them to have the biggest drop off from last year. Luka Doncic will be, well, Luka Doncic again, but my major concern with Dallas is the lack of a second option. Jalen Brunson used to be the backup for Luka, but he is now in a Knicks jersey. The return of Tim Hardaway Jr. will provide some shooting help, but other players will have to step up if the Mavericks want to return to glory. Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood will have to produce on a nightly basis to help Luka out, but I just do not see that happening. The Mavs will have to be busier come next free agency.

The NBA season is set to kick off on October 18 when the Philadelphia Sixers face the Boston Celtics at 7:30 PM.

The Warriors Standing Tall in the Wild Wild West

By Kaleb Page

In today’s NBA it cannot be denied that the Western Conference is the best conference. With teams that are contenders to win not only the West but an NBA title as well. The surprise of the year thus far is the historic start the Golden State Warriors have that sees them sitting a top the Western Conference and in most minds as the best team in the league.

With a team this successful it is also a surprise since the coach is just a first year man. Fresh out of the broadcasting realm, Steve Kerr was granted a great opportunity. After the Warriors let go of coach Mark Jackson they wanted to get a new basketball mind that seemed like the hot item at the time. This past summer when Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher were two of the big names on the market, teams needing a coach looked at them as must haves. With Fisher having a tough time in New York with the Knicks and Kerr finding success with the Warriors it seems that the Warriors got the better end of the deal. There is one caveat to this scenario however.

Is Kerr just the recipient of being handed the keys to an already tuned up machine? For years Golden State was the laughing-stock of the league with no relevance at all, until they hired Mark Jackson who took the role of giving the team an identity and some sense of discipline they had been lacking for years. With Jackson putting in a lot of the leg work it leaves me looking at this run the Warriors are having with some skepticism.

Mainly this is caused by the fact that Jackson was a good coach and for all the work he put in didn’t he deserve a longer leash? I guess sometimes a change is nice, but is there really any difference from this team to last years with Jackson? I don’t see much besides the emergence and progression of players like Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson (just to name a few). These progressions that more than likely were coming even if Kerr wasn’t the coach.

The Washington Post article on Kerr was interesting talking about how this coach could be seeing the Erik Spoelstra treatment in not getting enough credit for what he is doing with the team. While I do hold my reservations since a lot of the foundation was laid by coach Jackson, there is something to be said for what can be done once that foundation is laid down. For what its worth Kerr looks to be making a great foundation into a great project in the works.

Hopefully the work done thus far this year turns out and Kerr can fully show that his coaching is the reason for this success. If Kerr is the bright coveted disciple of the Phil Jackson coaching tree then this Warriors team full of talent could become an all-time great team poised for a great run for years to come with its core of young talent.