The 2022-23 NBA season officially begins today, and one of the biggest questions is about our defending champions. Will the Golden State Warriors repeat as NBA champions? Here we’ll discuss some of our predictions for which teams will make it to the 2023 NBA Playoffs and eventually, the 2023 NBA Finals.
The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, and the Los Angeles Lakers will all take the court on October 18. They are set to tip off what should be one of the most competitive seasons in league history.
There are so many talented players in the league today and so many deep rosters. When you look at all 30 teams, it is not difficult to point to at least one player and say that he is an All-Star-caliber talent.
Both conferences are stacked, too. Case in point, the Eastern Conference has significantly improved from a year ago. Meanwhile, there are some younger, athletic teams beginning to rise in the Western Conference. There is truly no telling what we can expect to see over the next few months other than high-level basketball being played on a nightly basis!
With that in mind, let’s look at our 2023 NBA Playoffs and Finals predictions. Let’s also see if the Warriors will repeat as NBA champions.
🏀 | Can they be beat?
Tonight the new NBA season will kick-off, will the Golden State Warriors repeat, or can someone beat them this year?🏆pic.twitter.com/QJvdI7EQbE
— Visubal (@visubal) October 18, 2022
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2023 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round
(1) Bucks vs (8) Bulls
Giannis Antetokounmpo won the crown for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, and he puts the Bucks in a good position to challenge for a title again in 2022-23. They should finish atop the East, while the Bulls will sneak into the playoffs despite missing Lonzo Ball. Bucks in four.
(2) 76ers vs (7) Raptors
The 76ers have no obvious flaws, which is why they have everything they will finish second in the East and make a serious postseason run. The Raptors, meanwhile, are a good, solid basketball team, but they still lack that superstar to carry them in the playoffs. Sixers in six.
(3) Celtics vs (6) Cavaliers
Despite so much internal turmoil plaguing the organization, the Celtics still have all-world talent on their squad. On the other end, the Cavaliers have so much depth and potential to make a lot of noise. Experience wins this, but only ever so slightly. Celtics in seven.
(4) Heat vs (5) Nets
Defense will be the Heat’s calling card as they finish with homecourt advantage in the first round against a Nets team that has all the scoring punch in the world to offer. This will be a feisty, nip-and-tuck series that will go the distance. Eventually, KD & Co. get the slip. Nets in seven.
Eastern Conference Second Round
(1) Bucks vs (5) Nets
It’s Giannis vs. KD. Then we have Middleton vs. Simmons. Of course, we cannot miss Holiday vs. Irving. The Nets will test the Bucks here and will push this all the way to seven games. When the smoke clears, however, nobody on the Nets will be able to derail Giannis Antetokounmpo’s drive to the Conference Finals in these NBA Playoffs. Bucks in seven.
(2) 76ers vs (3) Celtics
Oh, what a matchup this will be. Joel Embiid should dominate in the paint, while Jayson Tatum will do battle with P.J. Tucker on the wings. Ditto with Marcus Smart trying to slow James Harden down. Jaylen Brown will be the key here, and he’ll be the reason the Celtics escape. Boston in seven.
Eastern Conference Finals
(1) Bucks vs (3) Celtics
There’s some history here, especially after the Celtics eliminated the erstwhile defending champions in 2022. Of course, Khris Middleton didn’t play then, and still, the Celtics needed seven games to beat the Bucks. That won’t happen again in 2023. Bucks got this. Milwaukee in six.
Western Conference First Round
(1) Warriors vs (8) Pelicans
The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to repeat (even with all the current locker room drama), but we cannot sleep on those pesky Pelicans from Louisiana. However, the Dubs are still the best team in basketball on any given night in the NBA Playoffs. The Pels will try to stick, but they will eventually fall. Warriors in six.
(2) Suns vs (7) Mavericks
The Phoenix Suns have not been short on drama this offseason, especially with the DeAndre Ayton and Jae Crowder things. Still, Devin Booker and Chris Paul are an elite backcourt duo. They also have chips on their shoulder against Luka and the Mavericks, who upended them in the 2022 Playoffs. That won’t happen again, though. Suns in six.
(3) Clippers vs (6) Timberwolves
For the Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are back and healthy, and they’ve added John Wall. That’s one helluva big three. On the other end, the T-Wolves have their own with Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert. It’ll be a titanic tussle going the full distance. When the smoke clears, though, the Clips win. Los Angeles in seven.
(4) Nuggets vs (5) Grizzlies
Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic finally has some friends to play with as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. return. That’s a formidable trinity that will make life very tough for Ja Morant & Co. The Grizzlies will have some highlights here, but the Nuggets will outlast them. Denver in seven.
Western Conference Second Round
(1) Warriors vs (4) Nuggets
Finals MVP vs. Regular Season MVP. This is going to be fun. We can already see Draymond Green getting under Jokic’s skin, right? And then Murray will have a fun battle trying to outgun Curry. The champs will prove to be slightly better, though. Warriors in seven.
(2) Suns vs (3) Clippers
Paul vs. Wall. Booker vs. George. That’s a pair of matchups for the ages. Question: who stops Kawhi, though? The Clips have Ivica Zubac to match up with Ayton, but who on the Suns can slow down Leonard? Cameron Johnson can try, but he’ll fail. Another second-round exit for the Suns here. Clippers in seven.
Western Conference Finals
(1) Warriors vs (3) Clippers
This going to be the craziest series in the NBA Playoffs. The very outspoken Green vs. the very soft-spoken Kawhi. Curry vs. Wall. Klay vs. PG. Man oh man oh man. And then there’s the battle of California angle on top of the fact that THIS Los Angeles team made it this far instead of the “other one.” Get your popcorn and fireworks ready for a classic, seven-game thriller. Warriors still win, though. Dubs in seven.
2023 NBA Finals
Bucks vs Warriors
Yes, how can we play it safe by picking both No. 1 seeds, right? Well, what’s there to argue? Giannis and his Bucks will rule the East, and Curry’s Dubs will rule the West. It’s inevitable. Get over it.
When (not if) these two clubs meet in the 2023 NBA Finals, it’ll be crazy good. The 2021 Champs vs. the 2022 Champs. The greatest international player right now (tracking to be the greatest ever?) vs. the greatest shooter in the history of the human race. The Bucks will lean on their curious combination of speed, strength, and shooting, while the Warriors will rely on their trademark smooth execution and deadshot accuracy.
It’ll be a terrific seven games, with the Golden State Warriors ending up as back-to-back champions.