Joel Embiid asks for high fives from the crowd.

Tonight marks the start of the 2022-2023 NBA Season. Wait, what? The season always sneaks up on me, but this time, I’m ready for it.

It was a wild offseason full of blockbuster trades (Donovan Mitchell), trade demands (Kevin Durant), and trades that broke our brains (Rudy Gobert).

Has the NBA ever been more talented than it is now? Seriously, there are marquee players on almost every team. But, if you thought tanking was bad in the past, wait until you see what happens this year as teams position themselves for Victor Wembanyama and Scott Henderson.

Shall we make some NBA season predictions?

NBA Key Storylines

Draymond Green vs. The Warriors: The punch heard ’round the world might be a death blow to the Warriors dynasty. Draymond’s punch isn’t something the team will forget in the short term. After the recipient of the punch, Jordan Poole, and Andrew Wiggins received contract extensions, Draymond is now the meme of Will Smith in an empty room. I trust Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Steve Kerr to be professional about it, but this situation is something to keep an eye on.

The Circus in Brooklyn: On paper, the Nets could win the NBA Championship. In reality, they have a long way to go. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving wanted out this offseason, and yet both players return to a roster that was swept by the Celtics in the first round. It’s only a matter of when, not if, the team will implode.

No Ime, No Problem?: The Celtics were prime for a return to the NBA Finals until Ime Udoka received a yearlong suspension. Now, I don’t know what to expect out of Boston. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the two staples and the addition of Malcolm Brogan is an upgrade at the point guard position. However, Robert Williams is out until December at the earliest and Al Horford has a lot of miles on his legs. The Cs should figure things out on their way to the playoffs, but I don’t trust them to beat teams like Boston or Philadelphia.

Eastern Conference

  1. Philadelphia 76ers
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
  3. Boston Celtics
  4. Miami Heat
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers
  6. Brooklyn Nets
  7. Toronto Raptors
  8. Atlanta Hawks
  9. New York Knicks
  10. Chicago Bulls

Eastern Conference Finals: Bucks over 76ers

You can say this about a lot of teams when it comes to injuries, but if the Bucks had a healthy Khris Middleton, I believe they make the NBA Finals. If the Bucks are healthy this season, they have the pieces to win the Eastern Conference. They return virtually the same roster from a season ago, and they will add Joe Ingles to the rotation once he returns in 2023. I like the Sixers’ additions of P.J. Tucker and De’Anthony Melton to add much-needed toughness to the roster. Embiid will be an MVP favorite, but it will not be enough to catapult the Sixers past the Bucks in the East.

Western Conference

  1. Denver Nuggets
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Phoenix Suns
  4. Los Angeles Clippers
  5. Memphis Grizzlies
  6. Dallas Mavericks
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. New Orleans Pelicans
  10. Sacramento Kings

Western Conference Finals: Warriors over Clippers

The Draymond Green saga could be a major thorn in the Warriors’ side as they look to defend their title. There is a possibility that Green gets dealt at the deadline. However, if Green can suck it up and play through the turmoil, the Warriors are in a prime position to repeat. Steph and Klay will steal all the headlines, but another year of Poole and Wiggins will add to the team’s chemistry. If Jonathan Kuminga can take the next step and James Wiseman can take a (literal) step, the Warriors will represent the West in the Finals.

NBA Finals

Bucks over Warriors

Giannis puts on his crown and wins his second ring.

NBA Awards

MVP: Joel Embiid

Rookie of the Year: Keegan Murray

Coach of the Year: Michael Malone

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Most Improved Player: Jalen Brunson

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Poole

Check back next year to see how right (or wrong) my predictions turn out!

Leave your NBA season predictions in the comments or tweet us, @danny_giro.

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