The contenders for the upcoming NBA season starting October, 2022.
Before we look to next season, let’s recap 2021/22.
The Golden State Warriors became champions for the 4th time in 8 years and future Hall of Famer, Steph Curry claimed his 1st Finals MVP.
The star-studded Los Angeles Lakers missed the playoffs, and the Brooklyn Nets imploded. Plus, the much fancied Phoenix Suns had an historic choke, and Nikola Jokic went back-to-back for NBA MVP.
Now looking ahead to the 2022/23 NBA season.
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The Celtics were Eastern Conference champs last season and made it to the finals. Plus, they’re running it back with mostly the same core that got them there.
They beat the defending champs Milwaukee Bucks in 7 games, but Khris Middleton was out. So, the question remains, can they defeat a full strength Bucks?
In terms of trades, they’ve made small moves so far, adding Gallinari for 2 years at $13m to bolster their bench.
Golden State Warriors
This is where things get interesting, The Celtics are the odds on favourite while the Warriors, Clippers, Bucks are all jostling for the 2nd spot.
Out of these three, the Warriors look most likely to pull away and go back-to-back. And while the main core of Curry, Klay, and Green are aging, they still have young promising players with Wiggins, Poole, Wiseman, Moody and Kuminga.
So, if these young players make a jump and their core stays healthy (and at the same level of production), then the warriors look primed to repeat.
As they say, the best ability is availability. Who’s to say how far the Bucks would have made it in the playoffs last season if they had Khris Middleton for the whole season.
The Bucks are running it back, signing Bobby Portis to a 3-year deal and picking up the great Aussie Joe Ingles as a sniper off the bench.
There’s no reason why the Bucks shouldn’t make the finals again this year, especially if they can stay healthy, and with probably the best player in the NBA - The Greek Freak.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are an intriguing team as we haven’t seen the full squad in action since the 2020/21 playoffs where Kawhi went down in the second round vs the Jazz. Paul George (Various Injuries) and Kawhi Leonard (ACL) have also been perpetually injured in recent times.
George and Leonard are one of the best duos in the NBA, and if healthy, there’s no reason why the clippers won’t be competing for a championship.
Also, they added Norman Powell and Robert Covington in a trade with the Trail Blazers and signed John Wall to a 2-year contract. Wall isn’t the player he used to be, but he should provide a nice boost to this team.
The best regular season team of last season are poised to make another deep postseason run after they matched the max sheet offer for Deandre Ayton and brought him back into the team.
The biggest concern for the Suns is the aging Chris Paul. Paul showed he still has what it takes to lead a team in the playoffs until the complete dismantling they received against the Dallas Mavericks.
If the Suns can learn from last year and improve on their weaknesses, they have a good chance of getting back to the finals.
And the Long Shots…
The Nuggets haven’t been fully healthy since the start of the 2020/21 NBA season where Jamal Murray tore his ACL and shortly after Michael Porter Jr went out with a back injury.
Since then they’ve plugged most of their holes on defence, grabbing Aaron Gordon from the Magic and signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown to 2 year deals.
The Western Conference looks to be very tough this season but if there is one team that could make it through outside of the top 3, it’s the Nuggets. Plus, it’s hard not to back a team that has the back-to-back MVP in his prime who’s getting his 2nd and 3rd options back.
The 76ers were in turmoil last season after getting bounced from the playoffs by a Hawks team that shouldn’t have beat them, and then Ben Simmons refusing to play for the team and the eventual trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
This trade brought in James Harden, who while not the same player as he was in Houston, is still a top 15 player in the NBA.
Looking at a full season of Joel Embiid and what appears to be a motivated Harden, along with some key pieces like Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris, don’t be surprised to see the 76ers up in top ranks of the NBA at the end of the season.
Where can I watch the 2022/23 NBA Season in Australia?
In Australia, you can watch the NBA with ESPN+, NBA League or Kayo. However, if you want to watch every single game of the NBA season, then you need to have both Kayo and NBA League Pass. Unfortunately, no one streaming service offers all the games.
How can I bet on NBA Basketball?
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