By Jamel Williams | November 3, 2022
Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
After over a week of NBA action, players and teams are trying to find their groove, but a few things are certain. The Los Angeles Lakers still suck, the Warriors are still on top despite what their 2-2 record might suggest, and Giannis Antetokunmpo should be considered the best player in the league unanimously.
The LA Lakers’ roster from top to bottom is absolutely dreadful, outside of two names: Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Russell Westbrook doesn’t help this team in any way, but he is no longer the focal point of the blame. Two names that aren’t mentioned enough when it comes to the downfall of the Lakers are Rob Pelinka and Anthony Davis. Although AD is a superstar when he plays healthy, health issues have been his biggest hindrance since he arrived in LA. After seeing Davis miss a lot of the 2020-21 season and almost all of last year with injuries to his back and knee, the Lakers and their fans still hold their breath every tough play AD is involved in. Although Davis might look like the best player on the floor at times, his health is still a huge concern when it comes to the season.
On the other hand, while some might argue teams that are now healthy like the Nuggets and Clippers have the best chance to make it out of the West, my pick is still the Golden State Warriors. While there has been noise on the outside about the Draymond Green situation, the Warriors made good moves in the offseason such as the addition of JaMychal Green and Dante DiVincenzo. They also look to develop the young talent they currently have. Once the Warriors are all on the floor, Poole and Green included, all of the other noise goes out the window, they still look like one of the best teams in basketball.
Now in the Eastern Conference, there’s plenty to talk about between the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Philadelphia 76ers, but my eye is on Giannis. I believe the Bucks will make it out of the East. The Bucks by no means have the best roster in the East, but they do have the best player in the league. Giannis and the Bucks remind me of those LeBron led teams – the Heat and the Cavs – that made the finals every year for almost a decade. If any one man can rule the East once again, it would be Giannis.
Jayson Tatum looks like he’s finally taken the leap to superstardom, and the Celtics are picking up where they left off after turning their season around last year. If the Celtics continue to develop their core and build chemistry with the offseason addition of Malcolm Brogdon, they can definitely challenge Giannis and the Bucks in order to take a trip back to the NBA finals. However, the only things holding the Celtics back from this, would be their head coaching situation and injuries. Ime Udoka, who was suspended for his actions with a female Celtics staff member, looks to be on his way out of the organization completely.
The only thing left to discuss would be the MVP race. As of right now it’s completely open, but I believe it will be a three man race between Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, and Giannis. While the winner is tough to decide, I believe Tatum will win his first MVP. I think Ja will get third place because his numbers won’t compare to that of a Giannis or Tatum. The Memphis Grizzlies will be a very competitive team in the West, most likely resulting in a top three seed shining light on Ja’s skill and leadership. While originally I believed Giannis would go on to win his third MVP, after witnessing the leap Jayson Tatum took, I think the Celtics will be the one seed when it’s all said and done. Jayson Tatum might average 29 points on good efficiency which is a pretty strong case for MVP if the Celtics in fact are on top of the East. The fact that Tatum and Giannis play in the same conference is really the difference maker in my decision since Giannis could also average something like 28 and 12. Even with such an incredible season from Giannis however, Jayson Tatum's solo performance along with a higher seeding for the Celtics should be enough to win MVP.