NBA Preview


Adam Masana, News Editor

The 2021-2022 NBA season ended with the Golden State Warriors lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy and Stephen Curry hoisting the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy.   

With the 76th NBA Season about to begin, the offseason had some interesting transactions that occurred. 

First off, the Jazz went into full rebuild mode, trading their star players, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a plethora of young players and draft picks. Mitchell was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for players Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, rookie Ochai Agbaji and many draft picks.  

Another big move is Dejounte Murray to the Hawks. The San Antonio Spurs traded Murray and Jock Landale for Danilo Gallinari, who was later waived and signed to the Boston Celtics, and three first round picks and a pick swap in 2026. 

A fan favorite to some, a bitter enemy to others, Patrick Beverley was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers gave up a young piece, Talen Horton-Tucker, but they believe Beverley will bolster the defense end for the team. 



The reigning champions from the 75th NBA season, the Golden State Warriors, have a chance to defend their title this season. They might have lost a few pieces but have added decent replacements along with the returning James Wiseman. They still have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green so they should be a lock for a high seed barring any major setbacks. 

The runner-up from last year’s Finals, the Boston Celtics, have a great chance of returning to the postseason and possibly even back to the Finals. With the addition of Malcolm Brogdon, they established their point guard position, making them one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. 

A dark horse team making a huge run this year would be the Los Angeles Clippers. Losing Kawhi Leonardlast year and Paul George for a great portion wasn’t good, but adding the two fully healthy superstars along with signing John Wall, makes Finals look like an easy target.


The Milwaukee Bucks have been a contender for a few years now and will probably be in contention for a while longer. Their superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has a contract with the team until the 2025-2026 season, which is a player option, and if he is on the team, they will stay a contender.  


A team that came really close to winning it all a couple of years back, the Phoenix Suns. They have been very consistent in the regular season after their addition of Chris Paul. This offseason, they resigned their center Deandre Ayton to a max contract as they look to run this team back, but this time make a further push into the playoffs. 

Another team that has been consistently contending is the Miami Heat. Although they lost PJ Tucker, their roster is pretty much the same. The Heat are coached well and are very solid in the regular season but in the playoffs, they always seem to be outplayed. This year we hope they make that push because the championship window is shrinking quickly. 

A surprise team that made the Conference Finals last season, the Dallas Mavericks, have a big opportunity to make a big push this year. They might have lost guard Jalen Brunson, but they have bolstered up the frontcourt with Christian Wood and JaVale McGee. You can’t mention this team without honoring Luka Doncic, the star of this team. He makes everything run there and is the sole reason they are a contender. 

One of the younger contenders in the league, the Memphis Grizzlies, were very surprising, being the 2nd seed in the West last year. Led by Ja Morant, his jump in production allowed the team to win all the games they did. No one sees him stopping now. So, the Grizzlies have a chance for contention this year.  

Just Outside Contention 

This section will be highlighted by the teams that are most likely locks for the playoffs but will not do much in the playoffs or have too many questions on how they will perform. 

A good one to mention is the team with the reigning back-to-back MVP, Nikola Jokic with the Denver Nuggets. Last year, they were short-handed with the injuries of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. They are in this section because no one knows how the two returning players will perform. Jokic himself can take them to the playoffs and it’ll be up to them to expand the potential of this team. 

It is a surprise to see this team in this section, but the Brooklyn Nets have the most interesting case of where they should be. Obviously, all the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving drama during the offseason was hopefully settled and they will stay on this team. The rest of this roster, however, is a big question. Their roster doesn’t have the depth of others, but the combination of their star players could possibly be deadly.  

Making one of the bolder moves this offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for Rudy Gobert. They already had a center in Karl Anthony-Towns, so this will be one of the most interesting teams to watch this season. Their spot in the postseason will be determined by how the two big-man-lineup works and the jump Anthony Edwards takes this season. 


Another big offseason move was made by the Cleveland Cavaliers. They traded for Donovan Mitchell, as they look to push further than the play-in tournament. Their seed would be determined on whether the small guards work together, and how much of a jump Evan Mobley will take this season.  

A team that surprised the league last year with their hot start, the Chicago Bulls. They brought back the key pieces with the resigning of Zach Lavine and added to the team with Andre Drummond. This team started last year on fire but slowed down in the second half of the season. They look to start nicely and never hit the brakes to get them a spot in the playoffs. 

This team won a championship just a few years ago. The Toronto Raptors were great last year with the rookie of the year Scottie Barnes. The team is basically the same as last year and they were the 5th seed last season. With Barnes entering his 2nd year, we don’t expect them to drop past the play-in.  


Fighting for Playoffs/Play-in 

The most polarizing team to judge for any sort of prediction, the Los Angeles Lakers are difficult to put anywhere in these lists. On paper, you see the star power of Lebron James, and Anthony Davis and may think this team is elite. However, Davis has been injured, Russell Westbrook is regressing, and Lebron is getting older. There is no prediction for this team, but if they make the playoffs, you never know when you have James on your team.  

Although, they made the huge addition of adding Dejounte Murray, the Atlanta Hawks are always a question. Of course, the defensive help from Murray is huge for the team, they seem very consistent in where they finish in the season. The ceiling could be a 6th seed, or they could be one of the seeds from the play-in.  


Probably the most exciting team to watch, the New Orleans Pelicans have the potential to be a decent team in the Western Conference. They are looking forward to the return of Zion Williamson, who has missed a lot of time due to injury. This team has been put together very well and adding Williamson back might boost this team to the 6th to 8th seeds.  


A team that has some of the most interesting fans of all time, the New York Knicks. They have always been a staple of the NBA. The Knicks added Jalen Brunson for their guard play. The young team led by RJ Barrett along with Jalen Brunson, you would hope they could make the play-in tournament. 


One of the most fun players to watch, Damian Lillard and his Portland Trail Blazers have some work to do to get to the play-in. Having Lillard can immediately make you a threat for at least the 8th seed. He is coming back from injury so you never know what he might be like. 


The Sacramento Kings is in a weird spot, they traded for Domantas Sabonis last year and drafter Keegan Murray in the recent draft. They also hired a new coach, Mike Brown, who was just part of the reigning champions. This year they believe they could push for the 10th seed.  


On the Outside Looking In/Tanking for Draft Capital 

Jazz – The Utah Jazz recently traded their star players and expect them to trade the other role players for more draft capital. 

Thunder – Unfortunately, their No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren is out for the season, which most likely means they are going to try to tank their way to another high pick.  

Spurs – The San Antonio Spurs traded their star, Dejounte Murray, away to the Hawks. They are looking to get that first pick like all these teams. Expect all their young players to show out this year.  

Rockets – Houston Rockets have a bunch of young talent that most likely won’t translate to much winning for another year or so. Their young star, Jalen Green is looked to make a jump and become the leader of this team. 

Pistons – Detroit is stacked with young players. For now, they should be looking to develop these young players for the future to make their own playoff pushes in the next year or so.  

Pacers – Like the Pistons, Indiana should probably develop their talent, with Tyrese Haliburton taking the lead role. Expect the young players to show what they can do this season.  

Hornets – Led by LaMelo Ball, Charlotte has been fun to watch. However, they haven’t had much success and not much changes either within the roster aside from their draft picks. Expect them to make the lower end of the play-in or miss it completely. 

Wizards – Washington is an interesting case. They have Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, two all-star caliber players, but the team doesn’t have much success. With a stacked Eastern Conference, don’t expect much from them. 

Magic – Orlando honestly has many young pieces that it would be difficult to develop them all. Drafting Paolo Banchero with the first pick in the recent draft is going to be the bright light for this team as they hope for big things to come from him. 

This NBA season will be a fun one to watch, we have parity in the league and lots of fun players to watch, especially the ones that are on new teams.