Our 15 basketball predictions for 2023

2022 is officially in the pocket, 2023 has just arrived, and it’s time to try to make connoisseurs out of some predictions from the depths of a brain still under the influence of alcohol and foie gras.

The Golden State Warriors will advance to at least one round of the playoffs

A bet equivalent to confirmation, 1er In January, the defending champions will move up the rankings or play through to win the qualifiers. We choose the first of the two hypotheses without much hesitation. The West is wide open, but to be precise, it’s as good as it gets, which means Steve Kerr’s players aren’t that far off their Conference’s podium.

And once it’s full in April… there’s no reason to lay eyes on any competitor that crosses their path. The bench may be missing a veteran or two to tickle the biggest names in this league — players who will be added in February or March. But the Warriors top-6 is too strong not to advance at least one round. Maybe two, maybe three…

At least one Chicago Bulls star will be transferred

Will the bull leaders dare to push the button? Will they want to blow things up when they are still in position to win the play-offs and therefore the play-offs? Regardless of which direction the franchise chooses, it’s entirely possible that at least one of the All-Stars on the roster will be traded in February.

Prediction: Nikola Vucevic. He’s the least “powerful” of the three (well, that’s debatable) and his contract expires in the summer of 2023. Therefore, the Bulls could lose him without compensation if they don’t move him during the offseason. “Vooch” is a great return, but his departure will prompt Chicago to play differently, leaving more room for two slashers, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. There is a scenario where all three are thrown in to start rebuilding the franchise, but it seems less likely at this stage.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be out in the first round … in seven innings

The Ohio franchise’s return to the playoffs will be in trouble against Philadelphia, Brooklyn or Miami. But he will sell his hide, cause a sensation, and (eventually) be disadvantaged by the judges. It’s hard, because we could very well make the opposite prediction and envision a scenario where the young, talented and accomplished Cavaliers will be at least as far as the Conference Semi-Finals.

But in the end, it’s a bit bold to predict that they’ll go out early in the first round despite a very good regular season. With gaps maybe a little more exposure in a playoff setup. Especially against such experienced teams with superstars at the top of the game (Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler).

The New York Knicks will qualify for the playoffs

A return to the top 8 in the East after a one-year hiatus. The Knicks aren’t pretty and are far from perfect, but they can take advantage of the relative weakness of the Conference’s midfield to punch their ticket. Especially with guys in form — Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson — and such a solid defense. After that it’s a short tour and then it’s off, but it’s not bad in Manhattan anyway.

Rudy Gobert or Karl-Anthony Towns will be transferred until February 2024

Yes, it takes time to change your habits. And yes, the Timberwolves paid so much for Rudy Gobert that less than two years after his arrival in Minneapolis, a move from the French pivot seems almost impossible. But time is running out for the already Anthony Edwards-owned franchise. So there could be transfers in the summer of 2023 or a few months after the start of the new season.

What if KAT requests his transfer? This is another possibility. Either way, Naz Reid (free agent in 2023) could force the front office’s hand with the improvement seen playing the fifth position instead of two All-Stars.

Either the Sacramento Kings or the Portland Trail Blazers will miss the playoffs

It might seem brutal considering both teams are currently in the top 8 of the Western Conference. They each have a great season. But one of the two will be left behind after the game. It would be more difficult for the Kings, who have continued this qualification since 2006.

LeBron James will surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 50 points

As soon as LeBron James is forty points off the record… watch out for the Lakers’ next opponent. Because the Royals could motivate themselves to finish this story by dropping a 50-point game to mark the occasion. On the other hand, no wonder Los Angeles won’t make the playoffs, and maybe even the playoffs.

Luka Doncic will be named MVP before the Dallas Mavericks finish the podium

Luka Doncic NBA Dallas Mavericks

Jayson Tatum, the best player on the best team, will feel cheated. Nikola Jokic won’t say anything, but he deserves a third straight trophy. Giannis Antetokounmpo too. But Luka Doncic will be named MVP. Because his performances are too crazy to ignore and the voters will give him the trophy for the first time. And probably not the last.

Despite his exploits, the Dallas Mavericks won’t climb into the top 3 of the Western Conference, but they won’t be until now (fourth? fifth?) with the manpower remaining so poor. This will ultimately play in Doncic’s favor.

Nikola Jokic will be close to 20-20-20 in a game

And incidentally, it’s an absolutely insane performance. He might drop a pass or two like 22-20-18. However, the Serbian pivot is not done leaving the amazing statistical lines either.

Kawhi Leonard is going to have a great playoff campaign

It’s hard to say how far the Clippers will go. But Kawhi Leonard will be ready and in good shape by April, May, and therefore possibly June. He will return to the level he was in when he led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA championship in 2019. When Leonard is healthy, he is one of the top five players in the world. Watch out for Los Angeles.

Giannis Antetokounmpo will be named DPOY

A polite way to make amends for the voters missing him from the top 3 for MVP despite an Eastern Conference podium finish for the Bucks and an absolutely incredible statistical season from Greece.

The Atlanta Hawks will fire Nate McMillan at the end of the season

It is always the coach who jumps first. And the Falcons aren’t going to part with a talented player like Trae Young any time soon. The upset that looms on the horizon will be too much for Nate McMillan to please Atlanta fans.

The Detroit Pistons will win less than 10 games over the next 4 months

Michigan would not go far from the worst season in franchise history (16-66 in 1980). The Pistons are now on a 9-game winning streak, and despite the progress of their youth, they should continue to raze the slums of their Conference. It smells like a team that will not take off at the end of the season, but will fall into the water. A second time in three years is enough to increase the chances of regaining the first choice.

Victor Vembanyama will be trained by “San Antonio Spurs”.

Victor Vembanyama
Credit: F. BLAISE

Because it is written. Victor Wembanyama, the most promising French talent since Tony Parker, who arrived at Spurs in the first position 26 years after Tim Duncan. it would be nice. It is a wish, a gift, and therefore a prediction.

Victor Vembanyama will play in the World Cup with the French team

And he will already establish himself as an important player in the rotation! Not necessarily a starter (and still ???), but he will show great things under the blue tunic, establishing himself after the match as a leading attacking option. With the same disappointment (yes, sorry) in the quarterfinals or semifinals of the competition, only to make him want to return with a vengeance in the 2024 Olympics.

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