LOS ANGELES — Which NBA teams are going to move the most next year after their finish at the end of the 2022 season?
While there are some obvious answers like when you look at the Los Angeles teams, like the Lakers who surprisingly missed the playoffs after Anthony Davis was injured most of the year. And the Clippers, who finished eighth in the standings without Kawhi Leonard, who will return next season.
But also, there has been a lot of offseason movement. Who got better? Who didn't get better and could slip next season?
That was the topic of the Locked On NBA podcast on Thursday as hosts Nick Angstadt and Pat The Designer looked at the teams they expect to rise and fall next season.
Angstadt started off on Locked On NBA throwing out the five teams that he thinks are most likely to rise in 2022-23 from their standing in 2021-22: The Clippers, Blazers, Nuggets, Hawks and Timberwolves.
“The Clippers are going to rise the most to me,:" Angstadt said. "They were eighth in the West last year, 42-40. I don’t know if there’s another team that’s going to take a bigger jump. They’re getting Kawhi Leonard back, they’re getting Paul George back, their team is almost too deep. I’m buying them.”
Angstadt is also expecting a big move from the Portland Trail Blazers, who finished 13th last year after trading away CJ. McCollum and an injury to Damian Lillard. They picked up Jerami Grant in the offseason from Detroit.
“The Blazers were 13th in the West last year," Angstadt said. "They tanked the whole thing, they pulled the rug out from under themselves. They added Jerami Grant. Damian Lillard will be back. Anfernee Simmons, they signed him. I don’t know if they’ll move up to the top six in the West, but going .500 would put them up like five spots from their standings last year.”
Pat had a few teams he thinks should be up there as well, including the New Orleans Pelicans who made the playoffs and gave the Suns a run for their money, but still finished just 36-46 on the year.
“If healthy, I think the Pelicans are a top 5 teams in the Western Conference," Pat said. "They have a dude on their team that shoots above 60% from the field. And they will have a full year of CJ McCollum.”
Additionally, Pat likes a healthy Cleveland team to make a better run in 2022-23. And the Nets could also improve from their eighth seed if they end up keeping Irving and Durant, he says.
“Just based on health, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a lot tougher this season," Pat said. "Another one is if the Nets find a way to keep Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and they decide to play a full season they should move up.”
Among teams they both expect to make falls in 2022-23 are the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies.
Check out the episode of Locked On NBA for their full conversation on biggest risers and fallers for next season.