GEORGE KARL

Coach Karl’s Corner: Early NBA action, predictions and two title favorites

Oct 27, 2022, 12:12 AM
Head coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the game with the Los Angeles Clippers a...
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Going into the 2022-23 NBA season I had my eyes on two teams who I think have the most potential to raise the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the year. More on them in a moment.

Overall, I think there’s about 10 NBA championship caliber teams. Three or four I think have more experience and knowledge of what it takes to win. But I think it’s going to be a wild race. The Western Conference is full of talent. I think Memphis, Denver and Dallas will be competitive. As for surprise contenders, Minnesota along with New Orleans will shock a lot of people.

The Eastern Conference is vastly improved, moving in a good direction and catching up with the West. The usual suspects, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, will once again be near the top of the conference. Joining them will be the Toronto Raptors. Nick Nurse does a great job with his young core and I think that group is more talented than what people might expect.

I have tremendous respect for the Warriors’ championship pedigree. When it gets tough, they seem to figure it out. It’s difficult enough to win back-to-back championships, but the preseason incident between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole was an issue that will take more than a year to truly resolve. I think that will hinder their chances of winning another title this season.

My Potential Champions:

The Clippers

The Clippers I feel have the most depth in the NBA led by two elite wings in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. But the X-factor who I think takes this team over the top is John Wall. If he can contribute 20 good minutes per game, his ability and experience makes this team that much better.

The 76ers

The Sixers had an underrated summer.  Their offseason decisions fit exactly what they need to be successful as a team. There will be no hangover from the Ben Simmons trade. And I think Tyreese Maxey is due to become a breakout star this year. But at the end of the day, the center of it will be the guy who I think will be this year’s MVP, Joel Embiid. He’s come in second to Nikola Jokic twice now, and I think he is going to go out every game trying to win the 2023 league MVP.

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It’s only a week into the NBA season yet a lot has transpired. I think that the first 10 games are an integral experimentation period. Much of the results are based on who it is you’re playing and how your best player is playing. The Blazers, Spurs and Jazz must prove a little bit more before I’ll call them legit.

But on the other end of the spectrum, there comes a point where you have to push the panic button and the Lakers are there already. I love Coach Darvin Ham and we are very close from our history together, but that situation comes with a lot of questions and changes, including trading Russell Westbrook right now.

It’s going to be a fun and wild 2022-2023 NBA season!

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George Karl

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Coach Karl’s Corner: Early NBA action, predictions and two title favorites