NBA Insiders – Five big questions we can’t wait to see answered in 2022-23

The NBA’s Two Biggest Off-Season Questions — The Future Kevin Durant And Donovan Mitchell – The answer has been given.

But while the Brooklyn Nets seem to be on track to play it back with their current core, the drama at Barclays Center isn’t over.

Will the Durant-Nets partnership last the rest of the season after such a public outcry of complaints this summer? the legacy ben simmonsWho hasn’t made a debut for his new team yet, making an immediate impact after being traded to Brooklyn before the February trading deadline?

Like the last season, the nets will definitely keep making headlines. So do the Los Angeles Lakers, who welcome a new furious point guard into the mix. can do Russell WestbrookBuried in business rumors all summer, now coexist Patrick Beverly in the same backyard?

Our NBA insiders are investigating the questions they want answered throughout training camp and the start of the 2022-23 season, including what’s next for the defending champion’s youth, for the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls and MVP Key players returning from injury are involved. Contenders playing big minutes at EuroBasket.

KD? What? Simmons? Will everything be alright in Brooklyn?

Where does it stand:

  • Kevin Durant: Canceled his trade request on Aug. 24.

  • Kyrie Irving: Selected June 27 in the fourth year of his contract.

  • Ben Simmons: Hasn’t played since the 76ers’ Game 7 loss in the 2021 East semi-finals.

Stop us if you’ve heard it before, but the Nets have a few questions heading into the season.

Durant remains in the fold for now — and Brooklyn is confident its off-season drama could give way to winning basketball. The organization has revolved around Durant since he was signed three years ago, but it’s unclear whether the relationship will last a full season, let alone four years remaining on his deal.

We haven’t heard anything this summer about Simmons, who will be out for 16 months when the Nets begin their season in Brooklyn on October 19 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Nets announced in May that Simmons’ microdiscectomy surgery was successful, shortly after the Nets had a first-round sweep against the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. Brooklyn hopes Simmons will “make a full recovery before the start of training camp.”

Much more than any NBA team, the Nets are defined by a series of ifs. But if Durant, Irving and Simmons are all available and on court this season at Barclays Center, the Nets are capable of becoming title contenders, which were projected to be in 2021-22.

Simmons is, in theory, the perfect player to play alongside Durant and Irving. Simmons is a 3-point shot-generating force, having assisted 996 3-pointers in his career, surpassing Russell Westbrook in the NBA from 2017-18 to 2020-21, according to ESPN Stats and Information Research. is more.

A lineup of Simmons, Durant, Irving, Joe Harris And Seth Curry, while light defensively, can be a devastating offensive unit if Simmons is building open form there. Spectrum tracking per second, 371 players have attempted 150 wide-open 3s over the past five seasons. Harris, Curry and Durant are all in the top four in such efforts.

– Tim Bontemps and Nick Friedel

What’s next for Juice, Pat Bev and the Lakers?

Where does it stand:

  • Last Year’s Crisis: In his first season with the Lakers, Russell Westbrook had his worst offensive season since 2010.

  • Adding Pat Bev: The Lakers traded for Patrick Beverly on July 6 to share time at point guard with Westbrook.

  • New Agent: Westbrook fired his longtime agent Thad Faucher of Wasserman on July 15 over “irreconcilable differences”.

The Lakers may be headed for an awkward first day of training camp. There’s a clear history between Westbrook and offseason business takeover Beverly, even though Westbrook’s appearance and towel assist at Beverly’s introductory news conference show that both guards are ready to quell any past beef.

After hearing his name in business rumors all summer, it doesn’t look like Westbrook will be going anywhere, judging by lebron james Tweeting that he “can’t wait for them to go this season!!” And comments from new coach Darwin Hamm expressed support for the 33-year-old guard.

Believing that no business goes through, it is up to Haim and his staff to revive the superstar trio of Westbrook, James and Key. Anthony Davis After failing a net during last season’s 11th-place finish in the Western Conference. (Ham is also tasked with maxing Westbrook when the ball is in James’s hand.)

LeBron’s tweet aside, how will the dynamic between him and Westbrook develop? (Remember that awkward Summer League moment when the two sat on opposite ends of the court?)

This kind of atmosphere is nothing new for Westbrook, who has reportedly been inspired by small talk or criticism throughout his career. The business rumble, for now, has been replaced by chatter, suggesting he and the Beverly may not coexist in the Lakers’ backcourt.

–Oum Youngmisuki

lonzo ball And Chris Middleton Injuries: Where does each stand in their recovery?

Where does it stand:

  • Ball: Suffered knee injury on January 14 – was not expected to return for the start of the season.

  • Middleton: He suffered a knee injury on April 20 and underwent wrist surgery in early July – expected to return around the start of the season.

The Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks both avoided making major changes this season, each confident that their full, healthy rosters could compete with the East.

If Middleton had not slipped on a drive into the basket during his first-round series against the Bulls – resulting in a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee, forcing him to miss his final 10 playoff games – Milwaukee believes it would be heading towards another NBA Finals.

Middleton, who also had off-season surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, is expected to be ready closer to the start of the regular season. The Bucks are known for their cautious approach to injuries, so expect Milwaukee to prioritize getting Middleton healthy for stretch runs and the playoffs, even if it means starting 2022-23 without their All-Star.

Meanwhile, the Bulls’ season ended much earlier than their division rivals.

On January 14, Chicago was 27–13 and the former was the top seed before Lonzo Ball suffered a left knee injury. It sprung to a 19–23 finish without him and a five-game first-round defeat. Ball had arthroscopic surgery in January, but each attempt to prepare him for game action at the end of the season resulted in a setback.

As recently during the Summer League, Bulls vice-president Arturas Karnisova admitted that Ball’s health is improving, but “probably not at the pace we would like” and the team doubts that he will be able to start the season. will be ready for The organization remains unclear about Ball’s condition and how long his knee problem will last.

— Jamal Collier

Are the youth of the warriors ready to move on?

Where does it stand:

Last season, the Warriors enjoyed slowly bringing their young players along as they race for the NBA title.

Cuminga and Moody were given small and sporadic opportunities as rookies, filling in injured players throughout the season and even getting a few chances to start. Golden State’s depth saw second-year player Wiseman take his time recovering from a meniscus injury in his right knee that forced him to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

Champs no longer have that luxury.

departure of Gary Peyton II, Otto Porter Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson, nemanja bezelica And Damian Lee Will undoubtedly force the three youths of the Golden State to take on extended roles.

The Warriors want to see Kuminga use his athleticism to his advantage, especially his skills as a slasher and finisher. Late last season, he showed the ability to draw contact and reach the free-throw line, showing a 10-for-12 over the Stripe in a thumping win over the Portland Trail Blazers in late February and a Memphis 7 in late March. Trying for -10 against the Grizzlies.

Golden State sees Moody as a strong 3-and-D floor-spacer who can use his 7-foot-1 wingspan on the defensive end. As a rookie, Moody shot 36.4% from deep in two attempts per game.

What Wiseman can actually do is still a question mark. He lacks the sample size of his younger teammates, but Wiseman had a solid summer league and offered a glimpse of how the Warriors want to use him: as a prototype rim protector who turns shots. Gives and catches the rebound. On offense, he would remain mostly near the rim, but the team would not discourage him from flying beyond the arc on open attempts.

— Kendra Andrews

How will EuroBasket affect Giannis, Luca and The Joker? Should teams be concerned about wear and tear?

Where does it stand:

More than two dozen NBA players represented their countries in the latest installment of EuroBasket – FIBA’s European Continental Championship – which includes three members of last year’s All-NBA First Team: Antetokounmpo, Doncic and Jokic – all of whose teams have been previously awarded. was terminated. Semifinals.

The added advantage over star players going into the season could be a concern, especially with the addition of qualifying games for next summer’s World Cup this year as part of the lead-up to EuroBasket. But the track record of these stars shows that this has not been a problem in the past.

Jokic last represented Serbia during the 2019 World Cup in the summer. He returned to play all 73 games for the Denver Nuggets in 2019-20, which ended in a run in the Western Conference Finals during the bubble. After Denver’s playoff exit in the first round, Jokic has had an extended break after back-to-back MVP wins.

Last played at EuroBasket 2017, Doncic helped Slovenia establish its NBA potential by leading Slovenia to a gold medal with MVP. goran dragik, He later became the youngest Euroleague MVP of all time. Since Slovenia did not qualify for the previous World Cup, Doncic took the court for his country at last summer’s Olympics. Although enough time passed after that competition for Doncic to enter a training camp heavier than his usual sporting weight—which shouldn’t be the case this time—he went on to take the Dallas Mavericks to this year’s West Finals. Showed a lot of stamina.

Giannis missed the last EuroBasket due to a knee injury, but played in the 2019 World Cup. He returned from that competition to win the MVP for the second time in a row, averaging a career-high 29.5 PPG (since surpassing the previous season) in 2019-20. Giannis also enjoyed a warmer-than-usual heat after the Milwaukee Bucks were knocked out in the second round despite his heroics.

— Kevin Pelton

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