The Wesleyan Argus | The Changing of the Guard: Preview of the 2022-23 NBA Season

c/o Kevin Jairaj

The 2022-23 NBA season marks a major shift in power in the league. As all-time greats like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who dominated the 2010s, enter the twilight of their respective careers, a new generation of stars is poised to take the reins. Led by superhuman jumpers like Ja Morant and positionless giants like Nikola Jokić, this new guard is rapidly changing the way coaches and players think about the game and strategize. To keep up with this fast-paced and dynamic NBA, I’ve written a brief preview of the upcoming season for each of the 30 teams, including key storylines and my personal record predictions (based on rosters, injuries, and biased opinions). in (approximately) 30 words or less.

1. Atlanta Hawks: 45W, 37L

Atlanta has two of the most exciting young guards in Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, who was signed in the offseason. If they can share the backcourt, the Hawks should secure a play-in tournament spot.

2. Boston Celtics: W 54, L 28

The Celtics were halfway through the door last year before Stephen Curry closed it during the Finals. With security guard Malcolm Brogdon added to the familiar faces list, they may be in for revenge.

3. Brooklyn Nets: 49W, 33L

For three years, Nets fans and critics have chanted “Championship or bust!” Now, with aging stars on thin ice and a historically injury-plagued roster, that notion is true: anything but a ring means total failure.

4. Charlotte Hornets: 36W, 46L

Miles Bridges is facing the consequences of his actions (he was charged with domestic violence in June). Charlotte should rely on her other players and not tolerate this behavior.

5. Chicago Bulls: 43W, 39L

The X-Factor for this team is the health of their point guard, Lonzo Ball. With the ball on the court to complement consistent goalscorers DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine, Chicago is a force, but without the ball, Bulls fans should brace themselves for an average season .

6. Cleveland Cavaliers: 50W, 32L

Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and now Donovan Mitchell? The Cavs have what it takes to be a super team with this lineup and will go deep into the playoffs for years to come.

7. Dallas Mavericks: 48W, 34L

This year the question arises: “How much can Luka Dončić achieve?” The answer: not enough. Even with Luka as the MVP pick, the Mavericks don’t have the supporting cast of a typical champion.

8. Denver Nuggets: 49W, 33L

The Mile-High City have hopes miles high as their stars Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr return from injury to join reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokić. Jokić is establishing himself as an all-time great, and with that greatness comes regular season success, but after an early exit from the playoffs last year he needs to prove he can dominate in the postseason as well.

9. Detroit Piston: 31W, 51L

The Pistons landed point guard Kemba Walker in the offseason, and with him alongside a talented young core, Detroit’s future is bright. The gift? Not as much.

10 Golden State Warriors: 59W, 23L

The Warriors saga continues! Golden State is shaping up to be one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, and Stephen Curry is hoping to add a fifth ring to his collection this year.

11. Houston Rockets: 22W, 60L

The Rockets have some promising youngsters in Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., this year’s No. 3 overall, but they’re still undergoing a rebuild that will take time.

12. Indiana Pacers: 25W, 57L

There is little left for this Pacers team after the retirement of Domantas Sabonis and Caris Levert. A major improvement from third-year guard Tyrese Haliburton could give Indiana some hope for the future, but for now they need to start a full rebuild.

13. Los Angeles hair clipper: 52W, 30L

The Clippers were a “what if?” team for several years. They have plenty of talent in superstars Kawhi Leanard and Paul George, but they haven’t lived up to their championship potential. With a fully healthy team, this could be their year.

14. Los Angeles Lakers: 42 watts, 40 liters

How long can LeBron James defy his age? Possibly forever, but I think a small dip in LeBron’s skill set this year will hurt the Lakers’ chances of a deep playoff run.

15. Memphis Grizzlies: 50W, 32L

Ja Morant’s electrifying dunks alone are worth the price of a ticket, but the Grizzlies aren’t overrated. I wouldn’t be surprised if Memphis leads the West by the end of the season.

16. Miami Heat: 49W, 33L

After reaching the finals two years ago, the Heat came close but ultimately failed to win the championship. The Eastern Conference is very talented, but Miami has a chance.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: 53 W 29 L

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s show goes on and while the team that won everything two years ago hasn’t changed much, they are just as competitive and capable.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: 48 W, 34 L

The savagery of Anthony Edwards, the shooting of Karl-Anthony Towns, the death of D’Angelo Russell, and now defending French seven-footer Rudy Gobert? Watch Minnesota’s playoff time.

19. New Orleans Pelicans 41W, 41L

New Orleans has realized that Zion Williamson is anything but superhuman. He’s been plagued by injuries ever since he came into the league, but if he stays healthy all year the Pelicans could surprise us.

20. New York Knicks: 39W, 43L

The Knicks made a splash by signing underrated guard Jalen Brunson, but they continue to be an underperforming team. A jump from RJ Barrett is their only hope.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: 25W, 57L

OKC fans might be feeling hopeless after last year’s draft pick Chet Holmgren suffered a season-ending foot injury, but they shouldn’t despair. The Thunder have 22 draft picks over the next four years, as well as a wealth of young talent. You are almost guaranteed to be the team of the future. Someone has to give General Manager Sam Presti a raise.

22. Orlando Magic: 24W, 58L

Orlando has stagnated in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference for many years. With the recent addition of several young franchise players, there is hope, but hope doesn’t win basketball games. For now, the Magic will have to wait.

23. Philadelphia 76ers: 50W, 32L

After last year’s dramatic season, in which management had an Alamo-like confrontation with Ben Simmons, the Sixers look forward to playing a successful basketball season with little outside noise.

24. Phoenix Suns: 54W, 28L

The Suns are the regular season dominators with a 115-39 record over the past two seasons. If that success can be carried over into the postseason, a ring could be imminent.

25. Portland Trail Blazer: 38W, 44L

The Trailblazers are counting on franchise point guard Damian Lillard for years to come, but they’re not a playoff team without a massive improvement from Anfernee Simons.

26. Sacramento Kings: 30W, 52L

The Kings have a promising duo in Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, but they need to prove they have more depth before I can predict significant success.

27. San Antonio Spurs: 22W, 60L

The rebuilding Spurs have one prize in their sights: Victor Wembanyama, the best player in the draft class of 2023. Regardless, this season will not be fun for Spurs fans.

28. Toronto Birds of Prey: 44W, 38L

Toronto has plateaued after winning the championship in 2019. While they expect some individual improvement from Scottie Barnes as a sophomore, the Top of the East simply has no place for them.

29. Utah Jazz: 24W, 58L

Music died for jazz when Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert left through trade and free agency. You have to build from scratch.

30. Washington Wizards: 34W, 48L

Over the summer, the Wizards signed Bradley Beal to a five-year, $251 million contract. Now that he’s safe, they must find other characters to compete with.

And with that, I’ve got all 30 teams covered. Last Sunday was a month until the NBA tip, and it’s sure to be an amazing season. Get ready to be wowed by new stars who arrive with huge egos and a burning desire to win, and remember to appreciate the established players embarking on their farewell tours.

Ethan Lee can be reached at [email protected]

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