NBA 2022-23 Season Preview

Thomas Ithier III, Sports Writer

With the 2022-23 NBA season tipping off on Oct. 18, there is a lot for basketball fans to look forward to. With many blockbuster trades, the addition of new NBA draftees, and the return of veteran players, competition proves to be fierce. 

With many organizational and roster changes, all 30 teams have something to prove in the upcoming season. Although some changes have brought about league-wide controversy, this has given teams a chance to prove their ability to adapt rapidly on mental and physical levels. 

Some major moves offseason included the trade of former Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert to Minnesota, former Jazz guard Donavan Mitchell to Cleveland, Patrick Beverly to the Lakers, and the Warriors trade of explosive playmaker Gary Payton II to Portland.  

Despite some seismic shifts in rosters, there have been many notable returns of dynamic NBA all-stars who spent a significant amount of time off the court last year due to injury. These players include Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Jamaal Murray, Zion Williamson, John Wall, Anthony Davis, and Ben Simmons. Players like Davis claim to have a “chip on their shoulder” entering this NBA season. 

No shortage of young talent emerged from this year’s draft. Many have eyes on top college players like Paolo Banchero from Duke, Jabari Smith Jr. from Auburn, and Jaden Ivey from Purdue are all looking to stand out and become the difference makers during their rookie seasons. All three starting rookies make their NBA debuts on Oct. 19. 

Another highlight worth noting is the commemoration of late Boston Celtics legend and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who passed away in July. On Aug. 11, the NBA announced they would be retiring the No. 6 jersey (Russell’s jersey number during his Celtics tenure) league-wide in honor of his legacy. Russell is only the third athlete across all national sports to have their jersey retired league-wide and the first player in NBA history to receive this honor. Celtics players will have a No. 6 patch etched on the right shoulder of their jerseys for the duration of the season. 

Opening night kickoff gives a glimpse of potential 2022-23 playoff matchups in the Eastern and Western conferences. Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers will take on the heavily favored NBA Finals favorites and last season’s final runner-ups, the Boston Celtics. 

The Los Angeles Laker’s Big 3 – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook will take on the defending world champs, the Golden State Warriors, in San Francisco: a highly anticipated matchup for many fans. 

With a surplus of old faces in new places, a variety of rivalries waiting to ignite flames, and matchups sure to have fans on the edge of their seats, the outlook for this season seems promising.