Just the Tip-Off ! NBA 2022–2023

Things get spicy this season! Image by Nick M. W.

I’ll keep this short. The 2022 NBA season tips off tomorrow with a pair of primetime matchups, featuring three good teams and my Lakers. I couldn’t be less excited for the Lakers to start playing again. They haven’t been any fun to watch since 2020, and they’ll be average at best, which is a lot better than they were last season. I guess I should be happy about that. Sure, anything can happen over the course of the season. Maybe they find some trade and dump off Westbrick, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for any miracles.

Being far from an expert in these matters — I’m just a casual NBA fan trying to make it in this world — all of my forthcoming predictions for this upcoming NBA season are based on previous knowledge based on observation, the “eye test”, and “gut feelings”. No actual science or analytics (both simple and advanced) were used to determine a damn thing about the 2022–2023 NBA season, so here we go.

Little brothers no more, Clippers win it all. Photo by eNe-Be-A entertainment.

I’m living in the Upside Down sports world. The San Diego Padres smacked my Dodgers across the face with their friar tucks. They’ll probably go on to play in the World Series, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they won it. They feel like the 2019 Nationals, and they have Juan Soto for luck.

Barring any catastrophic injuries, the Clippers will win the 2022–2023 NBA title 4 games to 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Injuries have really been the only thing stopping the Clippers from winning it all the last couple of seasons. They are well-coached by Tyronn Lue; they are fucking stacked; and they play unselfishly. They also have the right kind of leadership guiding the franchise from the top-down, the type of leadership that keeps them and other teams, like the Warriors, 76ers, Heat, and even those disgusting Celtics in contention every season. This season, the Clippers finally take over Los Angeles.

Embid is big time in his prime, and this is his year to shine. Photo by Jason Vinlove/USA Today.

It’ll be a breakthrough season for the Clippers, and it’ll be a breakthrough season for Joel Embid. He’s been coming up short against the Joker and Giannis for a few seasons, but 2022–2023 will be his crowning achievement, at least up to this point of his career. He’ll grind through the bloated NBA season, carry the 76ers all the way to the NBA Finals, push the Clippers to the brink, and fall just short. He trusted the process.

It’s going to be better than last season, but what does that really mean? Average would be better. AD playing 2/3 of the season would be incredible; all 82 is impossible for him, but if he plays in 55 spread out across the calendar, well then that would be a tremendous success. I think he missed 44 games last season.

This season would be a success if they somehow managed to be around the 5th or 6th seed in the Western Conference by the trade deadline. That would be around the same time that a seller might be willing to take Westbrick for less than what teams wanted in the off-season for him. Maybe the Lakers get someone in return who actually wants to play team basketball.

It’ll be a success if the Lakers make the playoffs at all after missing them completely last year. This is the most realistic benchmark of the three I just listed for the Lakers, and it’s definitely not guaranteed. The same injury/self-implosion 1–2 combo that smacked that Lakers ass last season could easily catch their glass chin again this season. However, I will remain positive. The Lakers will make the play-in tournament as the 8th seed. From there, anything can happen, right?

The journey is the dream. Enjoy!

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Nick M. W.

Writer by night scribbling out thoughts on entertainment media and creating sloppy fiction. NickMacWilli.com