1 Philadelphia 76ers – The regular season means more to this team than the other contenders in the East. Embiid wants an MVP, and Harden knows this is his time to shine before the inevitable playoff flop. So they’ll get the 1 seed. 2 Milwaukee Bucks – Will just keep consistently winning as long as Giannis is on the team. 3 Toronto Raptors – Someone has to jump up a bit in the standings, and why not the Raptors? They are bringing back essentially the same roster, who when healthy were one of the best teams in the league last season. 4 Brooklyn Nets – More question marks than the Riddler’s costume. They have the talent and a point to prove. But if things start off shaky it will be a slippery slope. 5 Boston Celtics – They drop because of the loss of Timelord. He’s a big part of their defense and they’ll want to make sure he’s right for the playoffs. 6 Cleveland Cavaliers – Have the team to jump higher in the standings than this, and will be hungry to do so. 7 Miami Heat – Same team, just older. Sure, they were the #1 seed last season, but still only 2 games better than the #4 seed, and with other teams around them improving, they’ll fall. 8 Atlanta Hawks – Murray is a great addition that it seems a shame to not have them actually improving on last year’s seed. But I’m a realist. 9 Chicago Bulls – One team in the East will be unlucky to finish 9th, and it’s the Bulls. DeRozan won’t be as good as last season, and the defense they lose without Lonzo will be hard for them to replace. 10 New York Knicks – I just want to see a Bulls-Knicks elimination game. Bring back Charles Smith for 4 chances at the game winning bucket. Wouldn’t be surprised if there is a fairly wide gap either side of the Knicks too. 11 Orlando Magic – Have enough with Paolo, Carter and Mo Bamba Number 5 up front, Wagner on the wing, and Cole, Fultz and Suggs at guard to be better than the teams below them. 12 Washington Wizards – KP will be hurt, Beal will score 50 in losses. Everyone else is just average. 13 Detroit Pistons – Still too young to take that next step. Maybe in a season or two. 14 Indiana Pacers – They have enough talent to not be this bad, until they trade that all away and try to be. 15 Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo will miss the season opener. After which they’ll decide VW would look good in a Hornets uniform.
1 Philadelphia 76ers – Full year of Harden, Tucker in for the added vet help, Embiid going for MVP – they win the East regular season in a canter. 2 Brooklyn Nets – On paper, this is a great team; Kyrie around more, Simmons back, and KD doing what KD does. Chips aren’t won on paper though, does it all really gel?? 3 Milwaukee Bucks – They have realised winning in the regular season doesn’t mean a thing. Coast through to the playoffs then will look to ramp things up. 4 Boston Celtics – Defending East champs, take a hit this season with the coaching change. The Jays still run the show, better depth and they will be warming up for 82 games to push in the playoffs. 5 Toronto Raptors – Nick Nurse will run the starting 5 into the ground and it might hurt late, top 3 for most of the season but slipping in March/April to limp into the playoffs. 6 Cleveland Cavaliers – HI love Donovan Mitchell but his ball dominant play will upset the zen early. They recover and will be in the hunt in April. 7 Atlanta Hawks – Murray is a great addition that it seems a shame to not have them actually improving on last year’s seed. But I’m a realist. 8 Miami Heat – I don’t like it. Running back the same crew too much. Lowry keeps slowing down, Butler too with all the Bulls minutes catching up with him. And who plays PF with Bam at C? 9 Chicago Bulls – Over excelled last season, this looks like a normal spot. Ball out until sometime in 2023, whispers LaVine isn’t too fit either. DeRozan to average 35ppg if they want to climb. 10 Washington Wizards – Beal will be up for a bounce back season and don’t mid the Morris and Barton adds around him. All depends on Porzingis health. 11 New York Knicks – Brunson isn’t the answer. Randle starts hot then the NY media get in his head and it all goes pear shaped. Knicks games get cancelled to make way for Billy Joel concerts. 12 Indiana Pacers – Rebuilding, but not enough to scrape the barrel. Haliburton the future, what do they get for Turner? Apparently the owner won’t tank so they lose the race to the bottom! 13 Charlotte Hornets – Mason Plumlee as the starting C says it all. Get LaMelo back quick, but the ship is sunk without him. 14 Detroit Pistons – They need to play Cade, Ivey and Duren a lot together and start building chemistry for a couple of years time. This means a bumpy ride now. 15 Orlando Magic – Not sure what this team is doing, too many average parts and it just doesn’t look right. Too many PGs and PF/C types, not enough wings to space it all out.
1 Denver Nuggets – Jokic could bring Showtime or The Nagys to the 5th seed, so with any help from Murray and Porter Jr, they’ll finish on top. 2 Memphis Grizzlies – I always underestimate them, hopefully not this time. A young team still trying to impress, and they’ll cover the loss of JJJ like they covered Ja last season. 3 Golden State Warriors – Not concerned about piling on the wins, they’ll use the regular season to get reps in to the young guys in Moody, Kuminga and Wiseman. 4 Phoenix Suns – Daniel Johnson > DeAndre Ayton. Enough said. 5 LA Clippers – Kawhi will play 40 games, PG13 will play the other 40. They’ll say all season “just wait until we get our full team on the court together” and they never will. 6 Dallas Mavericks – Like Jokic last season, this spot will be all because of Luka. If he gets injured, Dallas miss the play-in. Also, so would my fantasy team. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves – Gave up a lot for Gobert. Will it be worth it? Probably not. 8 New Orleans Pelicans – Assuming Zion stays healthy, defense is the concern here. We’ve also seen Zion at full strength already and it didn’t necessarily translate into wins. Yet. 9 Portland Trailblazers – Hard to get a read on this team. All comes down to how much the abdomen was bothering Dame last season. Still going with an undersized backcourt with no defense and hoping their C stays injury free. 10 LA Lakers – Take one of LeBron or AD out of the lineup, and one almost always will be, and what are you left with? 11 Sacramento Kings – Does getting 10th break their playoff drought? Doesn’t matter if it does, because they won’t get there. 12 OKC Thunder – The best of the worst. SGA, Giddey and Dort are enough to finish above the bottom 3, it’s just how early in the season they’ll all get shut down. In SGA’s case, probably the last day of the Fantasy final like last season. Grr. 13 Houston Rockets – Let Green and Smith get all the minutes they can handle, and all the losses they can handle. 14 San Antonio Spurs – Haven’t been down this far in the rankings since they were starting Cadillac Anderson. 15 Utah Jazz – Out with one tall Frenchie, in with another?
1 Denver Nuggets – Jokic going for another MVP, Murray and Porter Jr back will have them motoring into the 2023 part of the season. Should get the 1 seed here but missing a piece to get past GSW, Clips or Grizz in the playoffs. 2 LA Clippers – Kawhi looks super fit. Depth and flexibility in the roster appears to be the best in the league. Health the massive concern, but I think the get it done and clinch the 2 seed. 3 Memphis Grizzlies – Slight drop with JJJ out, but he’ll be back in December and they finish strong. They make the WCF from here as King Ja goes 2K mode. 4 Golden State Warriors – Load managed and getting minutes into the youth movement all the way to the 4 spot to just ensure some home court cooking in the first round. Then still the team to beat from here. 5 New Orleans Pelicans – Zion is back! The extended rest was to prep his body for more NBA action and it pays off this season. The roster looks good, plenty of support options – great shooting to feed off Zion getting double and triple teamed. 6 Dallas Mavericks – Doncic the favourite for MVP to start the season, but his team still looks to be missing some depth. Wood is a nice add and maybe they make some in season moves to push higher here? 7 Phoenix Suns – Something isn’t right in Phoenix now and its not CP3 getting older! It’s something else, the vibe isn’t there and things are falling apart. Window closed, CP3 will need to relocate again to chase the elusive chip. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves – GI want to put them higher, Gobert is a good add but they will miss Beverly in the backcourt. Ant Man to continue the trajectory up but the KAT and Gobert fit doesn’t quite go as planned. 9 Portland Trailblazers – Hard to get a read on this team. All comes down to how much the abdomen was bothering Dame last season. Still going with an undersized backcourt with no defense and hoping their C stays injury free. 10 LA Lakers – There is almost no one who can consistently hit a 3 on this roster. The lane will be too clogged for anyone to make a good offence work here. LBJ will work his magic to push them as far as he can, but not this year. 11 Sacramento Kings – So they stop tanking and try – Sabonis, Fox, Barnes and crew just aren’t good enough to compete with the rest of the West. Another failed campaign ahead. 12 Houston Rockets – Green, KPJ, Smith, Sengun – they are on the slow climb after the Harden years. Fun to watch, tough to support as there will be lots of turnovers with some big wins along the way. 13 OKC Thunder – SGA, Giddey and some good young talent, but its all about getting chemistry for Chet next year plus whoever they land in the upcoming draft. Throw the ball out there and see what ya got. Another team who is fun to watch, tough to support. 14 San Antonio Spurs – Pop’s youth movement will be put to the test here. Not much on paper so lets see how this goes. Tactical moves will avoid a ‘spoon’ but they’re definitely bottom 4 in the league. 15 Utah Jazz – The tank is on, pure Danny Ainge style. Grab those picks and start playing for the 2027 title now.