Lakers Nation Roundtable: 2022-23 Lakers & NBA Predictions
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA offseason has come and gone and the 2022-23 season is upon us as the Los Angeles Lakers travel to take on the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Opening Night this Tuesday.

To no surprise, the Lakers once again have high expectations for this season after making a ton of changes to their roster and coaching staff.

The NBA is as stacked as its every been though so the Lakers face an uphill battle to get back into championship contention, even with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster.

Before the season gets underway, our staff went on record and predicted who would win the 2021-22 NBA Championship as well as all the major awards and L.A. predictions in the latest Lakers Nation Roundtable:

Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane):

NBA Finals: Bucks over Clippers

It’s gross to pick the Clippers to get to the Finals but I think they do have an argument for having the best roster in the West and their depth on the wing will matter over the course of the season. The Bucks were likely a Khris Middleton injury away from a Finals run last season, I’ve got them getting there this year and saving us from a Clippers title the same way the Warriors saved us from a Celtics win back in June.

MVP: Luka Doncic, Mavericks

If the Mavericks finish in the top five in the West after losing Jalen Brunson to free agency then Doncic will have a strong narrative to his candidacy to supplement his incredible production. On the flip side, if the Mavs barely stay afloat or even worse, sink in the West it would end Doncic’s shot. That said, he’s too talented not to get it at some point, so why not now?

DPOY: Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Bucks

Going along with a Bucks title win, it’s another DPOY award for Giannis. His size allows him to defend anyone and he makes plays that few others can. Would be nice to see a healthy Anthony Davis make a run here…

ROY: Paolo Banchero, Magic

The Magic have a chance to be a bit better than people are giving them credit for this season and Banchero will show people why he was the number one pick in the draft. They just have to be careful not to be too good and spoil their odds at landing Victor Wembanyama in next summer’s draft.

MIP: Tyrese Maxey, 76ers

While most focus on the star power of James Harden and Joel Embiid, the 76ers have an impressive talent in the 21-year-old Maxey. He put up 17.5 points and just over 4 assists last season while shooting 43% from three last season, and while there may be some regression with that percentage, his importance to a team that hopes to contend for a championship can’t be understated. Another strong season should get Maxey plenty of recognition for his talent.

6MOY: Jordan Poole, Warriors

My pick last year for the Most Improved award, Poole just got a new deal from the Warriors worth $140 million. Playing behind Steph Curry, Poole gives the Warriors the kind of offensive punch that can be difficult to withstand and is coming off a championship run that provided plenty of high-stakes lessons for the young guard. Look for him to take a leap this season and make the Warriors, once again, a powerful presence in the West.

COY:Taylor Jenkins, Grizzlies

This award tends to go to the coach of the team that exceeds expectations, and as such, I felt Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins should have won it last year. An injury will rob the team of impressive big man Jaren Jackson Jr to start the season, but if the Grizzlies can weather injuries and keep rolling the way they did last season, Jenkins will walk away with the award.

Lakers Record: 41-41

That record has me taking the under on their current line but I’ve said many teams that the roster is imbalanced and screaming for a trade. If and when that move comes we can revisit, but as constructed this team projects to be a .500 squad.

Ron Gutterman (@rongutterman24):

NBA Finals: Bucks over Nuggets

The Bucks had a bit of injury luck when they took home the 2021 NBA championship, but felt the reverse last season when they lost Khris Middleton. At full strength, this is the best team in the league, and being fully healthy in the playoffs will prove it. The Nuggets also appear to be the most complete team in the Western Conference.

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

It was tempting to vote for Nikola Jokic to win his third consecutive MVP award, but voter fatigue may set in, especially if the Nuggets are back to full strength. So I’ll give the award to Antetokounmpo, who should be plenty motivated after last season.

DPOY: Bam Adebayo, Heat

ROY: Keegan Murray, Kings

Making the Kings relevant is a tall task, but Murray has shown some serious early flashes. I think he’ll be the most NBA-ready player right off the bat.

MIP: Tyrese Maxey, 76ers

6MOY: Jordan Poole, Warriors

Returning to a full-time bench role behind Klay Thompson, Poole should be able to put up high-volume numbers while playing a majority of crunch-time minutes.

COY: Tyronn Lue, Clippers

The Clippers were my second choice to make it to the NBA Finals before ultimately settling on the Nuggets. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back, the Clippers are firmly in the contender conversation, and Lue will finally get recognized for being one of the best coaches in basketball.

Lakers Record: 44-38

If LeBron James and Anthony Davis can play at least 55-60 games each, the Lakers should find ways to win enough games to make the Play-In Tournament. A 44-38 record should give them the chance to fight for their playoff lives and earn a low seed. This roster is simply too clunky for me to go any higher with my wins prediction, and a Russell Westbrook trade can’t be assumed anymore.

Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA):

NBA Finals: Bucks over Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are heading into this season with a roster that’s arguably better than what they had last, especially if James Wiseman can stay healthy. That’s a scary prospect for the rest of the Western Conference.

However, the Milwaukee Bucks still have Giannis Antetokounmpo playing at an MVP level with a team that will have Khris Middleton back healthy. An argument could be made that the Bucks would’ve been in the Finals and could’ve come out on top had Middleton not gotten hurt.

This year, I think that will happen. So I’m taking Giannis and company to win it all.

MVP: Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Every single season, Luka takes another step forward. Unfortunately, the team around him is suspect, to say the least, especially without Jalen Brunson. Still, I’d say this could be the year that the Mavs superstar makes a legitimate case to be MVP with the likes of Giannis, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.

I doubt Jokic makes it three MVPs in a row, and I’m not sure Embiid will tilt the scales enough. Antetokounmpo could be his toughest competition, but in the end, I think the face of the Dallas franchise comes out on top.

DPOY: Anthony Davis, Lakers

This award always seems to come down to Rudy Gobert and whatever star emerges defensively in that given season. Last year, it was Marcus Smart, and even though some questioned the decision to give him the award, I think he deserved it.

This year, I believe it could be Davis’ year to shine on the defensive end of the floor. When healthy, he’s always in the discussion for the regular-season award. The veteran forward seems determined to play as many games as possible during the 2022-23 campaign, and if he can stay healthy and motivated, he might be tough to beat in this category.

ROY: Paolo Banchero, Magic

The Rookie of the Year award is always tricky because you never know which first-year players will come into their own on the next level. This year could be more similar, with a few candidates that might break out and become the next Scottie Barnes.

However, I think this award is Paolo Banchero’s to lose. He’s got all the tools and is in a great situation to show what he can do with a Magic squad that might surprise some people this season.

MIP: Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves

Few young players in the league today have as much potential to become a superstar as Anthony Edwards. However, the potential future face of the Minnesota franchise can take his game to another level entirely, with this possibly being the season the Timberwolves start living up to expectations.

If Edwards does come into his own, the Timberwolves will be a threat in the West and could be a tough team to beat for years to come.

6MOY: Malcolm Brogdon, Celtics

The Boston Celtics are a mess in the aftermath of the Ime Udoka saga. There’s no telling how this team will react without their leader on the sideline, but if they can get it together, Malcolm Brogdon may remind people that he can help move the needle.

Of course, Brogdon has dealt with many injuries over the years, which could make it difficult for him to make a strong case for this award, much like Davis for Defensive Player of the Year.

If healthy, Brogdon has a great shot at beating out the likes of Tyler Herro and Jordan Poole for this award.

COY: Jason Kidd, Mavericks

If Luka turns into an unstoppable force this season and leads Dallas to a top seed in the West, Jason Kidd could benefit greatly. He’s already proven to be a solid head coach in Dallas, but this year might be the season he earns Coach of the Year honors.

Lakers Record: 45-37

Damian Burchardt (@D_Burchardt):

NBA Finals: 76ers over Pelicans

This might look like a bold pick, but is it really? Philly has the best NBA duo in James Harden and Joel Embiid — who have already developed some chemistry thanks to their short stint as teammates in the second part of 2021-22. Meanwhile, the Pelicans roster is deep — in big part thanks to the Lakers — and their third scoring option is CJ McCollum. If both teams are healthy in the playoffs, I don’t see anyone beating them four times in a series.

MVP: Joel Embiid, 76ers

The NBA is a league of narratives. I don’t see the panelists making Nikola Jokic the first player to claim three straight MVP awards since Larry Bird. Similarly, considering the big debate over whether or not Embiid was robbed of the honor last year, I think there will be many headlines throughout the season calling for the Sixers star to win the MVP if he keeps up, or improves, on his 2021-22 performance. Besides, as my previous pick might suggest, I think Embiid will be really good this year.

DPOY: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers

I’m not as high on the Clippers as the general consensus — and I think it’ll be difficult for Leonard to return to his best self after an ACL injury that caused him to miss an entire year. But I can definitely see Kawhi reminding people how good a defender he is in 2022-23, leading him to scoop the DPOY award (which will feel a little like an unofficial Comeback of the Year title).

ROY: Keegan Murray, Kings

The Kings are making the playoffs this year. There, I said it. And Murray will be the reason why.

MIP: Herb Jones, Pelicans

Payback for his omission from the All-Rookie First Team and All-Defense teams last year.

6MOY: Kendrick Nunn, Lakers

Let’s show at least some optimism on the Lakers front, shall we? But I do genuinely think Nunn is going to have a big comeback year.

COY: Chris Finch, Timberwolves

Minnesota is going to be good, especially in the regular season.

Lakers Record: 43-39

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