With the NBA preseason officially in the books, there is a lot to take away from the 68 games that took place before the season has begun. The NBA, perhaps more than any other sport, has the most impactful preseason in terms of getting an idea of what to expect during the regular season and beyond. From the early collapse of the Phoenix Suns playing against the Adelaide 36ers to the Warriors drama, this preseason brought about many stories, including the following.
What to Expect from the NBA 2022-23 Season
Some of the biggest names are back this year, including Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, and Ben Simmons. Zion and Simmons seem to be the biggest “What-Ifs” in the NBA. The health of Zion continues to be a large question mark that could make or break his status for this year. The questions about Simmons have been discussed ever since his collapse in the playoffs with the 76ers.
The two teams that have the most to gain with a healthy roster are the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers. With the Nuggets, they of course have the two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic as well as now healthy starters Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Many consider the Nuggets to be one of the teams to surprise the masses this year. The other team is the Los Angeles Clippers who did not have both All-Stars last season in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. With both healthy and with impressive preseasons, many consider the Clippers to be the team to come out of the West and make the finals.
Speaking of big names, it’s always important to keep in mind the players that changed teams in the offseason, whether it was by trade or free agency. What may have been the trade of the offseason was Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a haul of picks. Pairing him with Karl Anthony Towns will make for a serious height advantage in the league.
In a change to overall strategy, the San Antonio Spurs traded away their best player, Dejounte Murrary, to the Atlanta Hawks for 3 first round picks. This signaled the waving of the white flags for the Spurs as they begin their rebuild, hoping to tank for this year’s perceived number one pick, Victor Wembanyama.
The Utah Jazz, in addition to trading Gobert, traded away All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Much like the Spurs, the Jazz are looking to tank for the Wembanyama pick as well as the future. The Cavaliers however, did not look like a top landing spot for Mitchell but now look ready to compete in the East around a solid, young core.
The Down-side of Preseason
The unfortunate side of preseason basketball is that injuries can happen before the season even begins, and this preseason is no different. The Ball brothers have had a run of bad luck this preseason especially. LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets was ruled out with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain going into the regular season. Lonzo Ball went under the knife this preseason, having surgery on his left knee, the same knee that ended his season last year. There is no set time for him to return.
The other list of names that caught the injury bug were Marvin Bagley III of the Detroit Pistons, suffering a sprained right knee and bone bruise. Jalen Suggs, the second year guard from the Orlando Magic suffered a sprained left knee as well as a bone bruise. He’s been announced as missing the beginning of the regular season, which doesn’t help his label as injury-prone.
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