ESPN has released its Western Conference predictions for the 2022-23 season

We are at the beginning of August, this somewhat slack period when the summer market has become very calm again and where the next season is still several weeks away. Nevertheless, the advantage is that we have a fairly clear vision of the profile of the different NBA teams, which allows us to embark – already – on a few predictions. The influential site named ESPN wasted no time as he just swung an early version of the Western Conference standings in 2022-23. We take a look at it right away.

ESPN predictions for the Eastern Conference, it’s here

Which team is best equipped to finish at the top of the hierarchy at the end of the regular season? Who will occupy the Top 4 of the Conference and in what order? Which franchises will end up in the places for the play-in tournament? Who will occupy the bottom of the ranking? These are the kinds of questions that the various Hexperts fromESPN. Without further ado, here is what it gives.

  1. Phoenix Suns, record of 56 wins – 26 losses
  2. Golden State Warriors, 55-27
  3. Denver Nuggets, 53-29
  4. Memphis Grizzlies, 51-31
  5. Los Angeles Clippers, 50-32
  6. Dallas Mavericks, 49-33
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves, 49-33
  8. New Orleans Pelicans, 43-39
  9. Los Angeles Lakers, 42-40
  10. Portland Trail Blazers, 35-47
  11. Sacramento Kings, 34-48
  12. Utah Jazz, 26-56
  13. Oklahoma City Thunder, 25-57
  14. San Antonio Spurs, 24-58
  15. Houston Rockets, 22-60

If the Suns have failed quite miserably against the Mavs during the last Playoffs, obviously they keep the rating for the regular season. Deandre Ayton has finally been extended and Phoenix will thus leave with a workforce that has chained wins in the last two campaigns. Sufficient according to ESPN to put Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Co. atop the Western Conference with 56 total wins. Right behind them? The 2022 NBA champions aka the Warriors, with 55 hits. Stephen Curry and his buddies put the church back in the middle of the village last year and despite some significant departures during the offseason (Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. in particular), we know that the Bay franchise can hit anyone with Steph, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, especially given the resources they have around. Among the teams expected to return to the front of the stage next season, there are bound to be the Nuggets and the Clippers. The band of Nikola Jokic will indeed recover Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., while Los Angeles can count on the comeback of Kawhi Leonard and a Paul George in form. Result, the Hexperts ofESPN give 53 wins to Denver – synonymous with the podium – and 50 to the Clippers, which seems a bit feeble given the XXL squad owned by coach Tyronn Lue. Between the Nuggets and the Clips, we find the Grizzlies of Ja Morant with 51 successes, they who managed a magnificent jump last year (second with 56 victories) before falling in the semi-finals of the Western Conference. Clearly, Memphis will want to prove that it was not an accident but the injury of Jaren Jackson Jr., who should miss the first weeks of the regular, risks penalizing the residents of the FedExForum, just like certain departures (Kyle Anderson, De’ Anthony Melton).

Dallas is another team that should drop a bit in the standings according to ESPN. From fourth last year and conference runners-up, Maestro Luka Doncic’s Mavs sit sixth with 49 wins. Something tells us that the departure of Jalen Brunson is probably there for something. Similar win tally for Wolves, ranked the same as 2022 despite the blockbuster trade that brought Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. Obviously, among the Hexperts US, we do not really believe in the big jump of the Wolves in this Western Conference which promises to be much more hardcore than last season. With the return of Zion Williamson following his off year and the great promise shown during the 2022 Playoffs, the Pelicans go from 36 to 43 wins with an eighth place in the West at the end. Enough to relegate the Lakers outside the Top 8, they who will however want to bounce back after the fiasco of the 2021-22 campaign. A barely positive result for a ninth place in conf ‘, we can imagine LeBron James using that as a source of motivation for the upcoming campaign, #WashedKing. The King will want to put the dots on the i, we are waiting for Anthony Davis to move, the Californian roster has been rejuvenated, and the new coach Darvin Ham intends to make the Russell Westbrook experience work. So, too low these Lakers version 2023?

We then have a nice chasm since no less than seven victories separate the Lakers from Portland. Yes, at ESPN, we do not give more than 35 successes to the Blazers, despite a Damian Lillard who should come back as fresh as a roach and the various moves made by the front office in the off-season (the transfer of Jerami Grant, the signing of Gary Payton II , Shaedon Sharpe’s draft selection). It’s up to them to prove that they can do much better than that on the court. At the Kings, we know, the ultimate goal is to finally grab a spot in the Playoffs (we’ve been waiting since… 2006) but Sacramento’s “win-now” (LOL) strategy does not seem to convince many people. Despite the presence of Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, the arrival of rookie Keegan Murray or that of Kevin Huerter, it goes no higher than 34 wins. Then, we arrive in the shallows of the Wild Wild West with Utah which should fall well following the departure of Rudy (and perhaps that of Donovan Mitchell), as well as the full rebuild projects which characterize the franchises of Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Regardless of the order, these three teams – ultra young – should bring up the rear and potentially give themselves a real chance of getting a certain Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 Draft.

So, your hot opinion? Rather agree with these predictions or not at all? Who are you riding? Who are you going down? Who are you leaving? It’s time to put your first toe in the water to get a little wet, especially since it’s always very hot outside…

Source texte : ESPN

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