The NBA is finally ready to tip off its 76th season! And while a whopping 52 out of the first 75 titles were won by just five different franchises, the 2022/23 campaign shapes up to become way more interesting with numerous teams boasting legitimate claims – or at least reasonable paths – to a title. In celebration of opening night, we have compiled eight quotes that sum up some of the biggest story lines heading into the new NBA season.

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Los Angeles Lakers

I want to see Anthony Davis go for the MVP of this league. Literally take the keys from Bron and put L.A. on his back!

Kevin Garnett, via Showtime’s Certified Smoke season preview

The math is simple in L.A.: If LeBron plays 55 games or more, he will score more than 1325 points (this has been true for each of his 19 NBA seasons). Doing so will make him the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, prompting a celebration in Los Angeles. Whether there will be any other purple and gold festivities depends hugely on Anthony Davis’ health (and a Russell Westbrook trade) as the Lakers roster features the slimmest royal court the King has seen in years.

Golden State Warriors

This is the biggest crisis we’ve ever had since I’ve been coach here — really serious stuff. We’re not perfect. Our team isn’t perfect. We have a lot of work to do, all of us. But we’re committed to doing that work together and to making this a really successful season. 

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr on Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole in practice

Winning a championship changes the dynamic of a team the year after. Pat Riley calls it the ‘disease of me’. KG calls it the ‘arrogance’ of a team’s second group. Whatever the name, Draymond Green’s way of dealing with those changes were dead wrong. No doubt about it. But the Warriors have proven to be able to handle adversity in the past. If they are able to actually put the practice incident behind them, their depth, talent, and experience mandates front-runner status for the dubs.

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Brooklyn Nets

This is fine!

Question Hound in the eponymous meme, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Compared to the roller coaster ride that was the Nets’ 2021/22 campaign, this off-season could almost be considered smooth sailing – a couple of trade demands and ultimatums aside. So everybody in Brooklyn has adopted the ‘smile & wave‘ approach, pioneered by another squad in black and white jerseys. They have to. Too many question marks remain for the Nets. If Coach Steve Nash can get all of his stars on the same page … if Ben Simmons is healthy and committed enough to play basketball … if Kyrie Irving in a contract year doesn’t go the same way it went last time, Brooklyn has as much talent as anybody in basketball. But if not …

Milwaukee Bucks

It’s just nice to have the same people around, people that you’ve won a championship with. You don’t see it very often in the NBA, when you have the same group of people and you just add to it.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Despite the season-ending injury to Khris Middleton, the Bucks came impressively close to edging out the Boston Celtics, who went on to the Finals. With most of their rotation players returning, Middleton coming back during the season, and Giannis coming off a Eurobasket that did not go the way he envisioned, the Bucks might very well go two-for-three on Finals trips. And with the Greek Freak approaching his prime in his age-28 season, there is no individual player that causes bigger headaches for his opponents during a seven game series than apex Giannis.

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Miami Heat

I’m just messing with stuff to make the internet mad. That was my goal this summer and it worked.

Jimmy Butler

The internet was in fact discussing the authenticity of Jimmy Butlers latest hairdos as well as the fact that Miami did not manage to trade for any of the stars that hit the trade market (Mitchell) until they didn’t (Durant). In addition, P.J. Tucker decided to ditch South Beach for Philly. While some of those points are more vital than others, all of them are true. However, the Heat were just one Jimmy Buckets three away from a Finals berth. And regardless of the public perception of Heat culture, the most dangerous thing you can do to Pat Riley is to underestimate him.

Memphis Grizzlies

Every NBA player wants to play on Christmas. As far as the matchup [against the Warriors] goes, we’ve had our back and forth during the series and we’ve had our back and forth after they won the championship. So, it’s like, aight. We brought up the Christmas game, and we got the Christmas game. All the back and forth on Twitter … We got the matchup we wanted. Draymond said the champs don’t go on the road. Aight, we’re gonna come to the Bay.

Ja Morant on competitiveness inside those four lines, via The Pivot podcast

During last year’s Playoffs, the Golden State vs. Memphis series offered a glimpse into the future. While injuries to Ja Morant and others left fans and players alike anxious for a re-match, the NBA is serving up Warriors-Grizzlies 2.0 on their biggest stage, scheduling the game for Christmas Day. Ja and the Grizzlies are convinced that they got next and they are not shy about it. And just like the millions of fans, Morant and company got their wish, another shot at the champs.

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San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, and more …


Multiple NBA teams (probably) on the amount of tanking they’ll be doing this year

Each and every year, there are teams who are highly incentivized to go all-out in the title race. This list includes the contenders and the teams who have already traded their first round draft pick. What’s different about the 2022/23 season is the incentive for the teams not on that list. With Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson waiting in the 2023 draft, the ‘race’ for the three worst records in the league will start earlier than in most other seasons. If you’re not chasing a spot in the play-in tournament, let your prospects take over (and let the Ls pile up)!

Philadelphia 76ers

He hasn’t won [a championship], and we’re all trying to win one. What I like about him is that he’s always going for it. Whatever it takes.

Joel Embiid on Sixers GM Daryl Morey

While Morey has made several crafty moves this off-season, the Sixers campaign can go one of two ways: If James Harden stays committed – and Embiid can stay healthy – the Sixers are a legitimate Finals contender and by default, Joel becomes a front runner for MVP as well. If Harden checks out like he did at the end of his Houston and Brooklyn tenures, Philly has wasted another prime Embiid season. While a lot of the outcome rests on Harden’s shoulders, Joel is the Sixer with the most to loose this season.

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