Most of the time here at Knupsports we concentrate on individual games across a wide variety of sports. But with the NBA season nearing the midway point of the season, we thought we would take a look a little further ahead.
Obviously a lot could happen in the next few months. To be honest, a lot could happen by the end of the week! But we want to take an opportunity to stick our necks out a little bit and make five predictions for the rest of the 2022-23 season – and beyond. Read on to discover our NBA best bets.
Boston Will Win the Eastern Conference
We never said that all of these predictions would be out of left field. The Celtics are probably the best team in the league right now and are the bookmakers’ favorites to win the championship this year. There is a lot of basketball to be played but we agree that Boston should come out top in the East.
Jayson Tatum has started to look like the best player in the NBA (although we don’t think he will be MVP – more about that later) and Boston will be more ready for the playoffs this year. Staying injury free will be the big test for this team. But, after the disappointment of last year, Boston is back to run the East.
Doncic Will Win the MVP
Nikola Jokic has won the last two NBA MVP awards – and deservedly so. It is not fair to say that he is single-handedly giving the Nuggets a chance, but they would not be in the running at all if he wasn’t around. Everything points to a third straight MVP for the Serbian. But it might not go down like that.
Plenty of players have won two in a row over the years. Jordan, Magic, LeBron, Steph Curry and even Steve Nash can claim that achievement. But the voting panel seems to be averse to handing the award out three times. Larry Bird was the recipient the last time that happened. It is as if they want a reason to give it to someone else – and Luka Doncic could be the man.
Karl-Anthony Towns Will Be Traded
KAT recently signed an extension, so there is no way any trade is being made before July. But it now does seem to be on the cards that the player that has been the face of the Timberwolves will be leaving Minnesota this summer. It is not that he is not still a great player – it’s just everything else going on in the north.
Bringing in Rudy Gobert was supposed to change Minnesota’s recent form of being bounced from the playoffs in the first round. It doesn’t look like it has worked – and the T-Wolves might not even make it that far this year. Trading Towns will bring in a bunch of money that can be used to bolster a team around Gobert in what might be called plan B for Minnesota.
Memphis Will Win the Western Conference
The Grizzlies can count themselves unlucky not to have made the finals last season. A few missed shots going in and Ja Morant staying injury-free and it is not a stretch to see this team beating the Warriors. This season has seen more of the same – even without a core starting lineup for long periods.
Jaren Jackson Jr. coming back has been a huge help on defense, with both his shot-blocking and rim protection giving Memphis an extra edge. It was unfortunate to lose Desmond Bane, but when he is back healthy the Grizzlies are more than a match for anyone. That is especially true if Ja Morant stays on the court too.
New Orleans Pelicans Will Be Champions in the Next Few Years
If we were feeling particularly risky we might even take New Orleans to come through and surprise everyone by winning the championship this year. But, for now, we will restrict ourselves to saying that it will happen soon. Very soon. Zion Williamson didn’t even play last season and this team made the playoffs.
Now the Pelicans are looking like one of the best teams in the West, alongside the Nuggets, Grizzlies and Mavs – and will go into the postseason in a better frame of mind. Ingram, McCollum, and Valanciunas dominate the court on a regular basis and Williamson’s talent is only going to get better. Maybe New Orleans will win the title this year after all.