NBA Season Preview 2022
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
5 Big Questions For The Upcoming NBA Season
With the NBA starting tonight, I thought it would be essential to look at five questions and predict what might happen.
How Will Brooklyn Perform Without Kyrie?
There are a lot of questions surrounding how Brooklyn will play without Kyrie Irving. Due to the COVID vaccine controversy, Kyrie Irving has informed the Nets’ organization and the NBA that he does not intend to get the vaccine. Furthermore, his NBA career could likely be in jeopardy.
The seven-time All-Star has refused to receive a vaccine and is currently not with the team. On Thursday, Nets’ general manager Sean Marks announced that Irving would not be a part of the team until he decided to get the vaccine.
With that said, it is uncertain as to whether or not Kyrie will play for the Nets this season, but I think they will be just fine without him. Let’s not forget they still have James Harden and Kevin Durant. Not to mention, Durant still has a sour taste in his mouth from losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals last year. You know he wants redemption more than anything else.
I don’t know if the Nets are the favorites to win the East with how good the Bucks are, but I think they can give the Bucks a run for their money. I believe this is a dangerous Nets team, and it could make an even more significant impact without Kyrie.
Will The Champs Repeat?
With Kyrie’s future with the Nets uncertain, that opens the door a little bit for the defending champs. After besting the Phoenix Suns in six games last year, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to build off of that momentum.
They still have their core group: Kris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. I believe they can easily make another run to the finals with additional contributors like Bobby Portis and Dante DiVincenzo.
I feel like the Eastern Conference is slowly getting more competitive with the emergence of the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks, but any team gets elevated when they have someone like Giannis on their team. Expect to see Giannis and the Bucks in the mix come crunch time.
How Will The Hawks Build Off Last Year?
This is my favorite part of the preview. I get to talk about my favorite team, the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not trying to be biased or anything, but I think the Hawks are the team to watch in the East. After an emphatic run in the playoffs last season, Trae Young and company are looking to build off their success from last year.
Trae Young has emerged as one of the best players in the league. After signing a massive extension in the off-season (five-year, $172.5 million), Young is looking to continue his success. It certainly helps to have a great supporting cast to back you up, and in Young’s case, he has just that.
In addition to Young, they extended John Collins to a five-year $125 million-dollar contract. Collins took a gamble by choosing to decline a four-year $90 million-dollar contract, but that ended up paying off. Collins went toe-to-toe with one of the best centers in the NBA in Joel Embiid. He has proved his worth, and he will continue to play a significant role for the Hawks.
Additionally, they extended guard Kevin Huerter to a four-year $65 million-dollar contract on Monday. After the finalization of Huerter’s contract, all of the Hawks’ off-season priorities were fulfilled. Now, all I expect is another special season and another appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.
What Will Happen With Ben Simmons?
As of right now, Ben Simmons is back with the Philadelphia 76ers. However, Simmons will not be playing in their season opener on Wednesday after ESPN announced that Simmons received a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Head Coach Doc Rivers threw him out of Tuesday’s practice.
This news isn’t surprising as the former defensive player of the year demanded a trade following a mental collapse in the postseason last year. Even though Simmons is back on the team, he has clarified that he doesn’t want to be in Philly anymore. There’s no shortage of drama in the NBA, as I don’t see this story ending anytime soon.
The only way I see this ending is with the 76ers either releasing Ben Simmons, or Simmons somehow reconciles with the team, and he guts it out for one more season.
Who Will Emerge Out Of The West?
There really is no clear favorite out West, but there are many, contenders and they are all bunched up together.
A lot of focus will be on the two LA teams. The Lakers have a piece in the form of guard Russell Westbrook. Can Westbrook coincide with Lebron and can Russ play with a group? Can the Clippers get out of the second round?
The Dallas Mavericks have a bright future ahead of them. It helps when you sign your best player to a $207 million-dollar extension. The big question is whether or not Luka Doncic can back up the extension and focus on getting the Mavs their first playoff wins since winning the finals ten years ago.
Then you have the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, who are pretty much the same team. I say that because both teams are vastly similar. They both have playmakers with Donovan Mitchell and Jamaal Murray. However, the Nuggets have the best center in the league, Nikola Jokic. Jokic is a point guard in a center’s body. The passes he can make are second to none. There is a reason why he won the MVP last year.
The Portland Trail Blazers are another contender, but how long until Damien Lillard leaves Portland to find another team to play for and win that elusive championship?
Then, you have the Golden State Warriors. Expect them to be a force this year. If Klay Thompson is healthy, they will be a tough team to beat with guys like Steph Curry and Draymond Green. I don’t see them going to the finals, but they will be a contender for sure.
The West is wide-open, and there isn’t a clear favorite to make it out of the West. It sure is shaping up to be another exciting season. After all, it is the 75th season of the NBA!
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Jake Klausner is one of our new contributors here at thepyrrhic.com. Jake will be covering the NFL this season and maybe even some more American-based sports. Keep your eyes peeled for more from this author.