Every NBA season brings surprise and drama. The 2022-23 campaign will be no different.
Kevin Durant‘s trade request could throw a wrench into the Brooklyn Nets‘ season, but if he and Kyrie Irving stick it out in Brooklyn alongside a healthy Ben Simmons, they could make their deepest playoff run yet.
Meanwhile, LeBron James‘ future will be one of the biggest questions across the NBA, as he enters the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in a season in which he is projected to break the league’s all-time scoring record.
We asked our panel to rank its top three choices for the NBA’s Team Turnaround and Team Turmoil — with a first-place vote receiving five points, a second-place vote receiving three and a third-place vote receiving one. The panel also answered three massive questions heading into the 2022-23 season.
Here are the results:
Team Turnaround: Biggest bounce-back contenders
Our Team Turnaround prediction focuses on the teams poised to bounce back or improve the most in 2022-23 after underachieving last season.
The Clippers fell short of the playoffs last season as Leonard and George missed significant time to injury, but they top this list with the duo expected to bounce back and help the team contend for the NBA title.
Then there are the Portland Trail Blazers, who come in second after suffering their worst season since 2004-05. Signing franchise icon Damian Lillard to an extension and adding Jerami Grant and Shaedon Sharpe in free agency should help Portland be much more competitive this season.
1. LA Clippers: 61 points (50.0% of first-place votes)
2. Portland Trail Blazers: 18 points (16.7%)
T-3. Minnesota Timberwolves: 15 points (5.6%)
T-3. New Orleans Pelicans: 15 points (5.6%)
T-5. Atlanta Hawks: 11 points (11.1%)
T-5. Sacramento Kings: 11 points (5.6%)
T-7. Detroit Pistons: 9 points (5.6%)
Team Turmoil: These franchises know drama
Our Team Turmoil prediction focuses on which teams are expected to be surrounded by the most drama this season.
The Nets earn the top spot as Durant’s trade request lingers and Irving, who intends to stay in Brooklyn, has brought plenty of his own drama to the Nets over the past three seasons.
The Lakers could be in for even more turmoil after a disappointing previous campaign as Russell Westbrook is set to return in a prominent role with the team after being an offensive liability last season.
1. Brooklyn Nets: 68 points (61.1% of first-place votes)
2. Los Angeles Lakers: 49 points (27.8%)
3. Utah Jazz: 14 points (11.1%)
T-9. LA Clippers: 1 point
Which team will Kevin Durant be on to start the 2022-23 season?
Durant became the story of the offseason when he requested a trade from the Nets just one year after signing a five-year extension with the team.
The Nets acknowledged Durant’s request and have explored trade offers but have not found a partner that can meet their terms so far, so Brooklyn is still the favorite for Durant’s services to start the season.
1. Brooklyn Nets: 83.3% of total votes
2. Boston Celtics: 5.6%
Which team will Donovan Mitchell be on to start the 2022-23 season?
The Utah Jazz entered rebuild mode when they traded star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason, and now Donovan Mitchell, their young shooting guard, would seem to be next on the trading block.
Mitchell is a New York-area native and has shown plenty of love for his Mets on Twitter, so it comes as no surprise that the crosstown Knicks are our panel’s runaway favorites to acquire Mitchell before the season starts.
1. New York Knicks: 77.8% of total votes
2. Miami Heat: 11.1%
4. Utah Jazz: 5.6%
What will LeBron James’ next team be?
James is entering the final year of his deal with the Lakers, and he will be 38 years old by the time he plays the first game on his next contract, so his next stop could be his last.
While the Lakers’ aging roster underperformed last season and is not expected to make a huge jump this season, Los Angeles is our panel’s favorite to re-sign James after his contract expires, although some believe he will return to Cleveland for one last run.
1. He will play the remainder of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers: 50.0% of total votes
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: 38.9%
This content was originally published here.