Ranking of the best sleeping teams in the NBA for 2022-23 | News, results, highlights, stats and rumours

Ranking of the best sleeper teams in the NBA for 2022-23

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    Luka Doncic and Brandon Ingram (Glen James/NBAE via Getty Images)

    The basketball world is buzzing as the 2022-23 NBA campaign approaches.

    The reigning Golden State Warriors sit on the throne, but the list of his rivals is as daunting as it is long. The Boston Celtics regrouped after losing the World Cup finals and added Malcolm Brogdon. The Philadelphia 76ers brought in James Harden’s old teammates to work with him and Joel Embiid. The Milwaukee Bucks loom as a potential leader and may maintain that status throughout Giannis Antetokounmpo’s heyday.

    This is not all. far from it. Imagine what the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets could do with a clean bill of health. Or what about the Brooklyn Nets after deciding not to blow the whole thing up? The Cleveland Cavaliers could be making serious noise with Donovan Mitchell on board. Phoenix Suns should continue to sail at high altitudes after a 64-win franchise season.

    All of these teams have people talking, but they aren’t the only ones who can shape the story for next season. The following five clubs – subjectively ranked by size and scope of their chance of exceeding expectations – may be under the radar at the moment, but each has a high chance of being surprised.

5. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Steve Chambers / Getty Images

    Sure, the Blazers were a mess last season, but most of the damage they took during the 55-loss marathon was self-made. With a lottery-protected selection on the line and a limited opportunity to impress in the post-season, they pulled the plug early, swapping CJ McCollum and shutting down their best talent to embrace the tank.

    After protecting the group (No. 7 overall) and investing in the intriguing Shaedon Sharpe, Portland has a chance to erase all memories of the ugly second half and return to the top of the Western Conference ladder.

    The upside begins with the return of Damien Lillard (abdominal surgery in January) who has spent the previous two seasons vying for the title of best offensive player on the planet. If this rings even a hyperbolic touch, just peep Produce: 29.4 points and 7.8 assists per game, plus 45.7 / 39.6 / 90.7 slashes. for context, Only 11 players She averaged 29 points and seven assists in one season.

    Lillard has a new colleague in Jerami Grant, a slim athletic winger who can work in everything from a 3D support player to a top scorer. Additionally, Portlander brought in second Gary Payton, who may be the weakest stopper in the Assembly’s backcourt. And don’t forget the return of Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkić, both of whom can change the outcome of matches on their own.

    If Portland sprinkled the right amount of developmental pixie dust on Sharpe, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, Greg Brown III and Trendon Watford, this supporting cast could be phenomenal. The Blazers will likely be under-contested for the championship even in their best-case scenario, but making an opponent sweat in the conference semi-finals is on the table.

4. Atlanta Hawks

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    Associated Press/Darren Abate

    Normally, if a team trades three first-round picks (and an optional trade-off) for all-stars in the Prime, it will generate a lot of chatter to even get close to the sleepy conversation. However, the Hawks’ acquisition of Dejounte Murray may be the exception to this rule, as it came during the same summer that the Utah Jazz fire sale and near-destruction of the Brooklyn Nets occurred.

    There are some expectations for Atlanta, but nothing huge: You’ve set Vegas Above under Only 45.5 wins. This would be a good season, but the Hawks could design something much bigger.

    Remember, this collection is a season one removed from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Still the main contributors from that race remain mostly – including Trae Young, Clint Capela, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanović – plus the Hawks have added Murray, Justin Holiday, Frank Kaminsky, Maurice Harkless and Rookie First-rounder AJ Griffin. Don’t rule out how big a role Onyeka Okongwu could play either.

    Atlanta’s Offseason theme has been defense, with most newcomers doing their best work. It’s also where the Falcons needed the biggest lift. Although there was last season The second most dangerous attackThey couldn’t rise above the average level as they were dragged down by them 26 ranked defense.

    That’s why trading with Murray made sense. Well, that and his ability to lighten some of Young’s offensive burden, which could lead to more efficient copies for both players. If they find their chemistry early on and the defense can even make it into the middle section of the proficiency rankings, Atlanta might achieve the two-way balance needed to navigate another conference finals.

3. Toronto Raptors

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    Von Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

    No, the Raptors didn’t win the Kevin Durant sweepstakes or swing big for a new starting position, but they probably didn’t need to. Toronto’s list looks really stacked up, before all the internal paths to growth and development are counted.

    With head coach Nick Norse firing the shots, and head of basketball operations Masai Ujiri always ready to pounce on any missing puzzle pieces, perhaps a sleeping dragon (dinosaur?) resting north of the border.

    “The Raptors don’t have one of the five most talented teams in the East,” Celtics Blog Adam Spinella Wrote. “But what they have is a top-tier coach, a massive amount of height and a young star in Scotty Barnes who can take the next leap.”

    If Toronto had enough times of their leap years just right, they could easily qualify as one of the five most talented teams in the conference by the end of the season.

    Barnes, Rookie of the Year, has very few weaknesses for a 21-year-old. Give him three consistent balls, and the game may be over. But don’t forget OG Anunoby, one of Kawhi Leonard’s potential characters cloning which shows lasting improvement. Both Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa similar paths point upward.

    Pascal Siakam has been an all-NBA pick for two of the past three seasons. Fred VanVleet has some of the best numbers on any non-league all-star team. Chris Boucher had just played the most complete season of his career, and that was without a reliable triple ball (29.7 per cent), which he had the year before (38.3).

    Toronto may not have a top-tier star at the moment, but it could have many All-Star picks and many other players in that discussion. No other teams can claim the same. You might be surprised if the Raptors push the conference finals, but you wouldn’t be shocked (or at least you shouldn’t).

2. Dallas Mavericks

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    Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images

    Wait, weren’t the Mavericks just finalists? How on earth can they be considered asleep after only a few months, right?

    Well, people I wasn’t all excited About the Offseason – they didn’t bother replacing Jalen Brunson – and their post-season success was not at all expected. The fourth-seeded Mavericks played six matches in the first round and seven in the second. Their victory over the top seed Phoenix Suns was often Painted as a Phoenix failure Instead of a Dallas victory.

    The simple truth behind the Mavericks’ stature as sleepers is this: they can be pretty intimidating, and they simply aren’t perceived as such.

    Christian Wood was a good opportunity, and his ability to serve as a checker (or pop pick) could make him a better fit with Brunson’s Luka Dončić. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s healthy comeback could be a huge deal; He averaged 16.6 points and shot 39.1 percent of three in his last full season. Josh Green, who previously picked the first round, has an opportunity to expand his role. Jaden Hardy was a recruiting night stock worth throwing in, even if the returns on that investment take a while.

    Notwithstanding, Dončić is the real key here. He’s a basketball magician.fourth player He scored 6,000 points, 2,000 assists and 2,000 rebounds in his first four seasons – who might have new tricks up his sleeve. Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban said: B/R’s Taylor Rocks That Dončić is working on a “crazy” shot, which means that one of the game’s most unguarded players may be hard to deal with right now.

1. New Orleans Pelicans

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    AP Photo / Matthew Hinton

    The New Orleans Pelicans may win the West this season. No, that’s not the most likely scenario, but if you don’t think it’s a possibility at least, you haven’t paid enough attention to Big Easy.

    Last season could have been a lost year since Zion Williamson missed it all after foot surgery, but New Orleans had other ideas. After stumbling at the start of 3-16, the Pelican 33-30 went the rest of the way and posted 10th best net rating Once Acquisition Deadline debuted CJ McCollum (plus 3.4). They won two games to secure their place in the playoffs, then pushed the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round.

    Once again, it all happened without Williamson. All of this was supervised by first-year coach Willie Green. With the appearance of Williamson ready to goand Green is in a position to build on her successful debut, New Orleans doesn’t have an odd path to getting to the top.

    This list features the perfect mix of superstars (McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanzinas, Larry Nance Jr.) and rising prospects (Harbert Jones, Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III, No. 8 Dyson Daniels picked). He just lacks a focal point, and if Williamson is healthy, he has everything he needs to thrive in the role.

    He has played more than 25 games in one season once in his career. During that campaign, he averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 61.1% from the field. Interested in venturing into guessing the last time the association saw someone put 27/7/3 into a 60 percent shot? Start. Williamson is just one to access those tags.

    Now, he’s about to join Ingram and McCollum, a tandem that averaged network shredding 116.9 points per 100 ownerships across 386 minutes last season. These three will be surrounded by an ingeniously crafted support team that delivers size, speed, athletic performance, shot making and a gritty defense. Oh, and if this list ends up lacking in anything, the front office has it Trade chips to fill in any gaps.

    Consider this an early warning: Pelicans may come for the crown.

    Statistics used as a courtesy basketball reference And the NBA.com.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for the Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, Tweet embed.