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NBA 2022-23 season preview: 5 contenders from the Western Conference

In this article, check out the 5 contenders from Western Conference in NBA 2022-23. Check out here in this NBA 2022-23 season preview.

JS
Last updated: 11.11.2022
NBA 2022-23 season preview 5 contenders from the Western Conference

In this article, check out the 5 contenders from Western Conference in NBA 2022-23. 

 

LA Lakers

The LA Lakers will be looking to bounce back after missing the NBA playoffs last season. The 17-time NBA champions had a turbulent offseason, where they failed to trade Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers were also engaged in talks with the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, but they never reached an agreement. They eventually inked Patrick Beverley via a trade from the Utah Jazz, and free agent Dennis Schroder, who returned to the franchise for his second stint.

Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Lonnie Walker IV are some other players who joined the Lakers during the offseason. With LeBron James entering his 20th NBA season and Anthony Davis back healthy, the Lakers have pieces to compete for the title.

Not only did the Lakers struggle defensively last season, but the team relied heavily on LeBron on offense and were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams. Davis played in just 40 games last season and hasn’t played 75 or more games since the 2017/18 NBA season.

Kendrick Nunn also missed the entire season with a knee injury and the team never managed to build chemistry. Darvin Ham knows that consistency will be key and has focused on making the Lakers a defense-first team, which will take time to happen.

They are expecting a big year from Russell Westbrook and will hope Anthony Davis stays healthy. If that happens, the Lakers could have a good chance of getting out of the West. Darvin Ham will also hope that Beverley’s great defense and Schroder’s excellent offense can be a big boost for the team.

The Lakers' first regular-season game is against the defending champions the Golden State Warriors on October 19.

 

Golden State Warriors

The defending champions kept their core together and bolstered their second unit this offseason. They re-signed Kevon Looney and inked Donte Divincenzo and JaMychal Green. Four-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala made the decision to return for one final season as well.

With the Splash Brothers (Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry) fully healthy and ready to go, the Warriors will be big favorites again this year. Draymond Green, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins will also have a big role in the squad. All three are entering contract year, so expect them to play at a high level.

Run-n-gun basketball and tough defense will set the tone for the Golden State Warriors, who have no plans to change their playing style. Draymond Green and Jordan Poole were involved in a physical altercation during practice last week. After the two exchanged words, Green threw a punch at Poole.

The four-time NBA champion publicly apologized for his actions and announced that he will take some time off the team. Green is expected to return in time for Tuesday's season opener.

With the franchise not willing to take significant action towards punishing Green, it remains to be seen if Green's actions will affect the locker room. The Golden State Warriors had to deal with a similar issue in 2018/19, when Draymond Green confronted Kevin Durant. However, after a few turbulent days, the squad got over it and played in the 2019 NBA Finals.

 

LA Clippers

After missing the playoffs last season, the LA Clippers will be aiming for nothing less than the NBA championship this season with everyone healthy. With Kawhi Leonard out with an ACL injury and Paul George missing several games due to an injury, the Clippers lost in the play-in tournament last season.

Fast forward to October and things are completely different. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have returned to full strength to headline a deep and talented roster. The signing of John Wall will bring some All-Star power to the second unit, with the 31-year-old star guard looking for a bounceback season.

The team kept their core together after re-signing Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard. The Clippers tip-off their season against the Lakers in the “Battle of Los Angeles”, on October 21.

 

Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets had a tough last season and played without stars Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. They finished sixth in the West and qualified directly for the postseason. However, they eventually failed to get past the opening round of the playoffs, losing to the Golden State Warriors in five games.

Nikola Jokic continued to dominate the league and won his second MVP. "The Joker" averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game last season.

After a few interesting trades, the Nuggets will aim for a top-4 finish and a deep playoff run this season. The return of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. forms a Big Three alongside Nikola Jokic. The signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope adds a great defender and someone who can shoot the long ball. They also signed Bruce Brown, who along with Aaron Gordon will be important on the defensive end for head coach Michael Malone.

Barring any setbacks to Murray and Porter Jr., the Nuggets have a great chance of becoming a 50-plus win team that will fight for a top-tier spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The Nuggets' first game of the season is against the Utah Jazz on October 20.

 

New Orleans Pelicans

With Zion Williamson back healthy, the New Orleans Pelicans have a great chance of making the NBA playoffs for a second straight season. The 2019 number one pick will form his own Big Three alongside Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum.

New Orleans is coming off a season where they exceeded expectations and reached the playoffs. They eliminated the San Antonio Spurs and the LA Clippers in the play-in tournament. They eventually lost to the Phoenix Suns in six games, but showed that the team has a bright future.

The Pelicans will see a full season from McCollum, who arrived on trade deadline last season and recently signed a two-year contract extension. Williamson staying healthy will be vital and it is likely that his performances will determine if the team can qualify for the postseason.

Besides the Big Three of the Pelicans, Jonas Valanciunas, Larry Nance Jr., Devonte Graham, Jose Alvarado and 2022 EuroBasket MVP and champion Willy Hernangomez will continue to be important role players as well.

The New Orleans Pelicans tip off the new NBA season with a road game against Eastern Conference contenders the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on October 20.


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