Now that the regular season is fully underway, its time to check in on our NBA Playoff predictions for 2022-23.
The Golden State Warriors are coming off their fourth title in eight years. With their core group returning, they were theodds-on favorites to repeatas the champions before the season began. However, it has been rough sailing as the team sits below a .500 record.
Meanwhile, there are a few other storylines that have been taking the league by storm. The Boston Celticssuspended head coach Ime Udokafor the entire season but still sits with the best record in the NBA. The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets are struggling like the Warriors. Speaking of the West, who would have thought the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings would be top-3 seeds in the conference as we depart mid-November?
Below, we give you our NBA playoff predictions for the 2022-23 campaign with updates throughout the season.
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Eastern Conference NBA Playoff predictions and seeds
Nov 16, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts after making a three-point shot against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Celtics are rolling to start the 2022-23 season and there are no signs that it will stop any time soon. Even though they are missing forward Danilo Gallinari,who suffered a torn ACL during the summer, it has not caused much harm to their record. It may have not been expected after Udoka was suspended but current head coach Joe Mazzulla is doing a great job as of now.
The Milwaukee Bucks started off the season very hot and that has only continued. Boston and Milwaukee look to be the best two teams in the Eastern Conference to start the season, even with the lattermissing one of their core playersin Khris Middleton. The two teams are strong but the Cleveland Cavaliers look to be a legitimate playoff threat with new star guard Donovan Mitchell.
Philadelphia certainly has proven it has the talent to get it done but injuries are running rampant through the team right now. Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey are all out as they look to recover from injuries. This is the same situation for the Heat who only had seven active players a few nights ago. Both of these teams need to get healthy if they want to give the top-3 teams a run for their money.
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The Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors are two quiet teams in the Eastern Conference that are sneaky good. They might not be the big-name teams like Milwaukee, Boston, or Philadelphia; however, both are teams that you do not want to face this postseason. There is room to grow and develop as each team posses young players that will continue to develop at a quick pace.
It seems impossible to think the Brooklyn Nets have more drama than during the offseason but it has reached that point. Steve Nash being fired, the pursuit of Udoka, Kyrie Irvings suspension, and thegrowing frustration with Ben Simmonsall land on the list. The team needs to figure out what the game plan is moving forward or they could blow it up at the trade deadline. For now, they still have time to figure it out with boatloads of talent.
As for the teams who are projected to miss the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks, and Chicago Bulls stand out in the crowd. The Pacers and Wizards are currently within the top 5 spots in the conference but the true playoff contenders will begin to separate themselves soon. There is a possibility that each team can stick around; however, the Knicks and Bulls have some work to do if they want to climb the standings.
Western Conference NBA Playoff predictions and seeds
Nov 22, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley (21) guards Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The Phoenix Suns missed out on Kevin Durant due to a high price and brought back DeAndre Ayton despite drama to end the 2021-22 season. Plus, Jae Crowderwants to be tradedfrom Phoenix with Cam Johnson out due to a knee injury. However, all of these factors combined still have the team as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. With Chris Paul coming back from his injury some time soon, there is only room to improve moving forward.
It was expected that the Golden State Warriors would be battling the Suns for the first seed in the conference but that has not been the case. It has been a struggle to start the year as Golden State sits with an 8-10 record. As usual, it is hard to count out Stephen Curry but others need to step up around him. Jordan Poole needs to replicate his performance from last season and Klay Thompson needs to pick up his play as the season progresses.
The Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies look to be two of many teams that could challenge Phoenix. The Nuggets will always be in contention as long as Nikola Jokic is healthy while Memphis continues to ascened with Ja Morant at the helm. The Grizzlies are simply a dangerous team. The organization has the pieces around Morant to make this work short-term and long-term. Meanwhile, Denver needs Jamal Murray to reach 100% to reach the next step.
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Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks have another quality team for the 2022-23 season; however, like in previous seasons, the organization might need more talent around Doncic to fully get it done. It might seem like Doncic can get it done by himself as he averages 33.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.1 assists as of now but more needs to be done. If the Mavericks can land a secondary player, they will be very dangerous moving forward.
The Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans are quality teams that need to be fully healthy to make a signifcant run. BothKawhi Leonardand Zion Williamson are players who have battled the injury bug to start the year. It has been a common theme but with both rosters improved from the last time they were both playing, they remain darkhorse teams. Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz continue to impress but it will be intersting to see if they can hold on as the season progresses.
There are a few notable teams that are not predicted to make the playoffs right now. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, and Sacramento Kings are those organizations. Minnesota addedRudy Gobert during the offseasonbut it has not been a perfect fit alonsgside Anthony Edwards. The Lakers are having their expected struggles but with LeBron James, the pressure will be mounting. Finally, Sacramento has been hot to start the season but will that continue?
NBA Playoffs bracket predictions: Matchups and winners
Nov 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dribbles against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
1. Boston Celtics over 8. Brooklyn Nets (4-1)
4. Philadelphia 76ers over 5. Atlanta Hawks (4-3)
2. Milwaukee Bucks over 7. Toronto Raptors (4-2)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers over 6. Miami Heat (4-3)
1. Phoenix Suns over 8. Utah Jazz (4-0)
5. Golden State Warriors over 4. Dallas Mavericks (4-2)
2. Denver Nuggets over 7. New Orleans Pelicans (4-3)
3. Memphis Grizzlies over 6. Los Angeles Clippers (4-1)
2023 NBA mock draft: Early projections with college basketball season startingNBA Playoff predictions: Conference semifinals resultsNov 22, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) and forward Dillon Brooks (24) talk during a timeout during the second half against the Sacramento Kings at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY SportsEastern Conference
1. Boston Celtics over 4. Philadelphia 76ers (4-2)
2. Milwaukee Bucks over 3. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3)
1. Phoenix Suns over 5. Golden State Warriors (4-3)
3. Memphis Grizzlies over 2. Denver Nuggets (4-2)
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1. Boston Celtics over 2. Milwaukee Bucks (4-3)
1. Phoenix Suns over 3. Memphis Grizzlies (4-2)
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Dec 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) guards Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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