c/o Kevin Jairaj

c/o Kevin Jairaj

The 2022–23 NBA season marks a grand power shift in the league. As perennial 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. This new guard, led by superhuman leapers like Ja Morant and positionless giants like Nikola Jokić, is rapidly changing how coaches and players think about the game and strategize. In order to keep up with this fast-paced and dynamic NBA, I’ve written a quick preview to the upcoming season including major storylines and my personal record predictions (based on rosters, injuries, and biased opinions) for each of the 30 teams in (roughly) 30 words or less.

1. Atlanta Hawks: 45 W, 37 L

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

2. Boston Celtics: 54 W, 28 L

The Celtics were halfway through the door last year before Stephen Curry shut it during the finals. With guard Malcolm Brogdon added to the roster of familiar faces, revenge could be theirs.

3. Brooklyn Nets: 49 W, 33 L

For three years, Nets fans and critics have cried out “Championship or bust!” Now, with aging stars on thin ice, and a historically injury-ridden squad, this notion is true: anything other than a ring means total failure.

4. Charlotte Hornets: 36 W, 46 L

Miles Bridges needs to face the consequences of his actions (he was charged with domestic violence in June). Charlotte should rely on its other players and show no tolerance for this behavior.

5. Chicago Bulls: 43 W, 39 L

The X-factor for this team is the health of its point guard, Lonzo Ball. With Ball on the court to complement the consistent scorers, DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine, Chicago is a force, but without Ball, Bulls fans should prepare for an average season.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers: 50 W, 32 L

Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and now Donovan Mitchell? The Cavs have the makings of a superteam with this lineup and will go deep into the playoffs for years to come.

7. Dallas Mavericks: 48 W, 34 L

This year begs the question: “How much can Luka Dončić do?” The answer: not enough. Even with Luka as an MVP favorite, the Mavericks do not have the supporting cast of a typical champion.

8. Denver Nuggets: 49 W, 33 L

The Mile-High City has mile-high hopes 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 this greatness comes regular season success, but after an early playoffs exit last year, he needs to prove that he can also dominate in the postseason.

9. Detroit Pistons: 31 W, 51 L

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

 10. Golden State Warriors: 59 W, 23 L

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

11. Houston Rockets: 22 W, 60 L

The Rockets have some promising youngsters in Jalen Green and this year’s number three overall pick Jabari Smith Jr., but they are still in a rebuild that will take time.

12. Indiana Pacers: 25 W, 57 L

There is little left for this Pacers team after giving up Domantas Sabonis and Caris Levert. A major improvement from third-year guard Tyrese Haliburton could give Indiana hope for the future, but for now, they will have to commence a full rebuild.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: 52 W, 30 L

The Clippers have been a ‘what if?’ team for several years now. They have more than enough talent with superstars Kawhi Leanard and Paul George, but they haven’t fulfilled their championship-caliber potential. With a fully healthy team, this might be their year.

14. Los Angeles Lakers: 42 W, 40 L

How long can LeBron James defy his age? Possibly forever, but I think a small decline in LeBron’s ability this year will hurt the Lakers’ chances of making a deep playoffs run.

15. Memphis Grizzlies: 50 W, 32 L

Ja Morant’s electrifying dunks alone are worth the price of a ticket, but the Grizzlies are not overhyped. I would not be surprised if Memphis leads the West at the end of the season.

16. Miami Heat: 49 W, 33 L

After making the finals two years ago, the Heat have been close but ultimately unable to win the championship. The Eastern Conference is very talented, but Miami has a chance.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: 53 W 29, L

The Giannis Antetokounmpo show continues, and although there has been little change to the team that won it all two years ago, they are just as competitive and able.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: 48 W, 34 L

The ferocity of Anthony Edwards, the shooting of Karl-Anthony Towns, the passing of D’Angelo Russell, and now the defense of French seven-footer Rudy Gobert? Watch out for Minnesota come playoff time.

19. New Orleans Pelicans 41 W, 41 L

New Orleans has realized that Zion Williamson is far from superhuman. Since coming into the league, he has been constantly plagued by injuries, but if he can stay healthy for the whole year, the Pelicans could surprise us.

20. New York Knicks: 39 W, 43 L

The Knicks made a splash by signing underrated guard Jalen Brunson, but they continue to be a below-average team. A leap from RJ Barrett is their only hope.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: 25 W, 57 L

OKC fans might feel hopeless after Chet Holmgren, the number two pick in last year’s draft, had a season-ending foot injury, but they should not despair. The Thunder have 22 draft picks in the next four years in addition to a plethora of young talent. They are almost guaranteed to be the team of the future. Someone needs to give general manager Sam Presti a raise.

22. Orlando Magic: 24 W, 58 L

Orlando has stagnated in the lower 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: 50 W, 32 L

Following last year’s drama-filled season in which the management had an Alamo-like standoff with Ben Simmons, the Sixers look forward to playing a successful season of basketball with little outside noise.

24. Phoenix Suns: 54 W, 28 L

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

25. Portland Trail Blazers: 38 W, 44 L

The Trailblazers have put their money on franchise point guard Damian Lillard for years to come, but without a massive improvement from Anfernee Simons, they are not a playoff team.

26. Sacramento Kings: 30 W, 52 L

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

27. San Antonio Spurs: 22 W, 60 L

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

28. Toronto Raptors: 44 W, 38 L

Toronto has plateaued after winning the championship in 2019. Although they expect some individual improvement from sophomore Scottie Barnes, the top of the East simply does not have room for them.

29. Utah Jazz: 24 W, 58 L

The music has died for the Jazz as Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert left by means of trade and free agency. They will have to build from the ground up.

30. Washington Wizards: 34 W, 48 L

Over the summer, the Wizards locked Bradley Beal into a five-year, $251 million dollar contract. Now that he is secure, they need to find other pieces to put themselves in contention.

And with that, I’ve covered all 30 teams. Last Sunday marked one month until the NBA tipoff, and it is bound to be an amazing season. Get ready to be impressed by new stars who arrive with giant egos and a burning desire to win, and remember to cherish the established players who are beginning their farewell tours. 

Ethan Lee can be reached at ejlee@wesleyan.edu.

  • J Van Bolt

    kemba Walker will not play a minute for the Pistons. That was known since the moment the trade was made.