The start of the 2022-23 NBA season is less than seven weeks away and the offseason has been a very busy time for all 30 franchises.
From All-Star requesting a trade to All-Stars being traded to new teams putting their names in the mix to be championship contenders, this upcoming season has a chance to be very special and very competitive.
Every team in the league did something this offseason and whether it was a good move or bad move, we have seen each team’s “stock” fluctuate. Not to mention, some players are in new places, so how have their decisions affected their personal “stock” heading into the new league year?
Here is who is trending up and down in the NBA as the start of the 2022-23 season nears closer!
The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a season in which they went 44-38, making the Play-In Tournament and barely missing the playoffs. They finished the season as the 7th best defensive rated team in the league and had two first-time All-Stars in Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen.
Not only are Garland and Allen back this upcoming season, but Evan Mobley is back as well for his second season and the Cavaliers recently added three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell in a trade with the Utah Jazz.
This team now has four young All-Star talents that are 25-years-old or younger and players like Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio, Isaac Okoro, Kevin Love, Dean Wade, Robin Lopez and Raul Neto round out the rest of their roster right now.
They have never really looked like a contending team without LeBron James being the face of the franchise, but the Cavaliers have begun a new chapter in their team’s history, one that has immediately put them back in the playoff conversation in the Eastern Conference.
Maybe it will take a year or so for this team to reach its full potential, but we are currently looking at a team that could very well have four All-Stars next year, all of which are under contract through at least the 2024-25 season.
Cleveland’s addition of Donovan Mitchell may have been the biggest “stock rising” move made by any team this offseason and now, it is not hard to say that the Cavaliers have a chance to be a Top-4 team in their conference.
The sky’s the limit for the Cavaliers right now and as a result, their stock is as high as anyone’s in the league.
Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are all terrific players that will all be in the Hall of Fame someday. However, these three did not play well together last season and the organization has decided to run things back for the 2022-23 season.
The Lakers did get younger with the additions of Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson and Thomas Bryant, but did the Lakers actually get better?
The same problems they had a season ago still loom large and there is still a question of how will Los Angeles look to utilize Russell Westbrook in the same rotations as LeBron James and Anthony Davis, especially since all three players are so ball-dominant!
To spice things up even more, the Lakers went out and acquired Patrick Beverley this offseason, not only adding more questions to who will start in the backcourt for this team, but Beverley and Westbrook have had a not-so-good history with one another for years.
Until this team proves that they can stay healthy and until they can actually find success on the floor, their stock continues to plummet, especially since they have no cap space and virtually no real future assets moving forward.
Keegan Murray – Sacramento Kings
Chet Holmgren’s injury and season-ending surgery is something that nobody wanted to see, as he has the potential to be one of the brightest, young stars in the NBA. However, if there is anyone who benefits exposure-wise from Holmgren’s injury, it is Keegan Murray.
Everyone always loves to talk about the end of season awards, even before the season has even begun!
Paolo Banchero is obviously the favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA Rookie of the Year award since he is the No. 1 overall pick and has the highest of expectations, but right behind him right now in terms of being the favorite for this award should be Sacramento Kings forward and No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray.
The Kings have made all the right moves this offseason in terms of trying to put an end to their now 16-year playoff drought, but all of this means nothing unless they go out and perform during the upcoming season.
De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis figure to be the top options on this team once again with Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter being key shooters out on the perimeter, but the success of Sacramento this upcoming year is dependent on Keegan Murray and whether or not he can live up to the expectations of being a Top-5 pick and one of the faces of this franchise moving forward.
So far, Murray has looked like this kind of player and he truly was one of the top performers at Las Vegas Summer League this past July. In a total of four games in Las Vegas, Murray averaged 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and shot 50.0% from the floor, 40.0% from three-point range. If you count the three games he played at the California Classic Summer League as well, Keegan Murray averaged 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and shot 50.5% from the floor. 41.2% from three-point range this summer.
Murray absolutely has a chance to solidify himself as one of the top options on the Kings roster early on in his career and should he do so, he will be the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award. Buy stock in Keegan Murray now before it is too late!
New York Knicks
If you know a fan of the New York Knicks, just give them a call or a text and make sure they are doing alright today because many Knicks fans are not taking this Donovan Mitchell news well.
New York had multiple opportunities to trade for Mitchell and they decided not to due to an extra draft pick or draft pick protection being included in negotiations with the Utah Jazz. All-in-all, the Knicks failed to trade for Donovan Mitchell this offseason, which leads to many question marks about this franchise and their management heading into the 2022-23 season.
They may have made the playoffs in 2021, but this is starting to look like a fluke for the Knicks, especially given that they finished 37-45 last season and look nothing like a real playoff threat.
Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and RJ Barrett are all promising looking young talents on this roster and the Knicks recently added Jalen Brunson in free agency as well, but New York needs a superstar talent and they just simply do not have that right now.
There are just too many concerning factors about this organization right now to call them a viable threat, which is why after seeing their stock rise slightly over the last couple of seasons, the Knicks are now heading downwards at a rapid pace, especially if they are worse than they were a season ago during the 2022-23 season.
Not trading for Donovan Mitchell could wind up being a nightmare that keeps the Knicks and their fans up at night for many years to come.
Brooklyn Nets Chances Of Winning Eastern Conference
Look, I know we have been down this road before and have talked about the Brooklyn Nets being a championship contender with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but the roster they have built this offseason is a Top-10, possibly a Top-5 roster in the league on paper.
T.J. Warren joining the Nets was one of the more underrated signings made in free agency this offseason and not only does Brooklyn have three of the better three-point shooters in the league in Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Patty Mills, but they also have an All-NBA and All-Defensive talent set to make his debut with the team in Ben Simmons.
We cannot get ahead of ourselves though with the Nets because they have dealt with a ton of drama over the last few months. Kevin Durant requested a trade and then called out both GM Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash, requesting that they be fired, and there are also question marks about Kyrie Irving’s availability and whether or not he is truly committed to this franchise.
Maybe I am crazy, but I am still buying stock in the Brooklyn Nets simply because it is hard to count a team out when they have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving healthy and playing together.
Those are two of the best players in the entire league based on skill and now having the necessary depth they need, this team truly has what it needs to win a championship this upcoming year.
However, one small crack in this team’s mentality and morale could once again have devastating effects and result in their ultimate failure like we have seen time-and-time again. Buy stock with caution when it comes to the Nets, yet do not be surprised if they wind up winning the Eastern Conference.