But while the Brooklyn Nets seem to be on their way to bringing it back while maintaining its current core, the drama at Barclays Center is far from over.
Will the Durant-Nets partnership last through the end of the season after this public grievance airing this summer? Will Ben Simmonswho still has to make his new team debut since he was traded to Brooklyn before the February trading deadline, does he have an immediate impact?
The net, just like last season, will surely still make headlines. So do the Los Angeles Lakers, which welcomes a new fiery point guard into the mix. Can Russell WestbrookBuried in trade rumors all summer long, he’s now coexisting with Patrick Beverly In the same back area?
NBA Insider examines the questions they’d like to see answered throughout training camp and the start of the 2022-23 season, including what awaits the reigning champions and key players returning from injury for rival Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls and MVPs who played big minutes in the EuroBasket.
Kuwaiti Dinar? Keri? Simmons? Will everything be OK in Brooklyn?
Where do you stand:
Kevin Durant: He canceled his trade order on August 24th.
Keri Irving: He was selected in the fourth year of his contract on June 27.
Ben Simmons: He hasn’t played since the 76ers’ Game 7 lost in the 2021 East semi-finals.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but the Nets have a few questions hovering above them as the season approaches.
Durant is still in the fold — for now — and Brooklyn is confident off-season drama can make way for a basketball win. The organization has been around Durant since the moment he signed him three years ago, but it’s unclear if the relationship will last all season, let alone the four years remaining on his deal.
We heard almost nothing this summer about Simmons, who will be out for 16 months when the Nets begin their season in Brooklyn against the New Orleans Pelicans on October 19.
The Nets announced in May that Simmons had undergone successful microdiscectomy, shortly after the Nets suffered a first-round sweep against the Eastern Conference champions Boston Celtics. Brooklyn expects Simmons to “completely recover before boot camp begins.”
More than just an NBA team, networks are defined by a series of ifs. But if Durant, Irving and Simmons are all available and on the field this season at the Barclays Center, the Nets could become the title contender they were expected to be in 2021-22.
Simmons, in theory, is the perfect player to play alongside Durant and Irving. Simmons is a 3-point shooting force that, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, has assisted in 996 3-pointers in his career, the second-most in the NBA from 2017-18 to 2020-21, trailing Russell Westbrook.
An assortment of Simmons, Durant, Irving, Joe Harris And the Seth Carrey, while Light is defensive, can be a devastating offensive unit if Simmons are there creating an open look. In the second Spectrum Trace, 371 players attempted to open 150 players 3 seconds wide over the past five seasons. Harris, Carey and Durant all rank in the top four in such attempts.
Tim Bontemps and Nick Friedel
What’s next for Ross, Pat Beef and the Lakers?
Where do you stand:
Last year’s problems: In his first season with the Lakers, Russell Westbrook had his worst offensive season since 2010.
PAT BIV ADDED: The Lakers traded for Patrick Beverly on July 6 to share time with Westbrook on guard.
New Agent: Westbrook fired his old agent Thad Foucher from Wasserman for “irreconcilable disagreements” on July 15.
The Lakers may be heading into an awkward day of first training camp. There is a clear history between Westbrook and Offseason for the commercial acquisition of Beverley, although Westbrook’s presence and help with the towel at Beverley’s introductory press conference indicates that both guards are ready to crush any previous beef.
After hearing his name in trade rumors all summer, it doesn’t look like Westbrook is going anywhere, according to the verdict LeBron James He tweeted that “Can’t wait for this season to come out!!” And comments from new coach Darvin Hamm expressed his support for the 33-year-old.
Assuming the trade doesn’t materialize, it’s up to Hamm and his staff to revive the superhero trio of Starbrook, James and… Anthony Davis After failing to get along last season, he finished 11th in the Western Conference. (Hamm was also tasked with maximizing Westbrook when the ball is in James’ hands.)
Regardless of LeBron’s tweet, how will the dynamic between him and Westbrook develop? (Remember that awkward moment in Summer League when the two sat on opposite sides of the field?)
This kind of vibe is nothing new for Westbrook, who throughout his career has been motivated by perceived insults or criticism. Commercial grumbling has been replaced, for now, with gossip suggesting he and Beverly can’t get along in the Lakers’ backcountry.
– Om Youngmisuk
Lonzo Pool And the Chris Middleton Injuries: Where do they all stand in their recovery?
Where do you stand:
Ball: Suffered a knee injury on January 14 – not expected to return at the start of the season.
Middleton: Suffered a knee injury on April 20 and had wrist surgery in early July – and is expected to be back at the start of the season.
The Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks both avoid making big changes this season, as they each believe their full, healthy rosters can compete in the East.
If Middleton hadn’t slipped on a trip to the basket during the first-round series against the Bulls—resulting in a Class II MCL sprain in his left knee that forced him to miss his last 10 playoff games—Milwaukee thought it would. She was on her way to another NBA Final.
Middleton, who also underwent off-season surgery to repair a torn left wrist ligament, is expected to be ready near the start of the regular season. The Bucks are known for their cautious approach to injuries, so expect Milwaukee to prioritize Middleton getting healthy for the extended run and playoffs, even if that means dealing with a 2022-23 start without an All-Star.
Meanwhile, the Bulls season took a turn for the worse much earlier than their division rivals.
On January 14, Chicago was at 27-13 and was the top seed in the East before Lonzo Ball injured his left knee. The match faltered with a score of 19-23 and five matches in the first round without him. Paul underwent arthroscopic surgery in January, but every attempt to ramp him up for the game towards the end of the season led to a setback.
Recently during the summer league, Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas acknowledged that ball health was improving but “probably not as fast as we would like” and the team doubts he will be ready for the start of the season. The organization remained vague about the position of the ball and how long his knee problems lasted.
– Jamal Collier
Are junior warriors ready to step up?
Where do you stand:
Last season, the Warriors enjoyed the privilege of slowly bringing their young players into their run toward the NBA title.
Kuminga and Moody were given small, scattered chances as starters, filling in injured players all season and even getting some chances to get started. Golden State’s depth allowed sophomore Weizmann to take his time to recover from a meniscus injury in his right knee that ended forcing him to miss the entire 2021-22 season.
Heroes no longer have that luxury.
The Warriors want to see Kuminga use his sport to his advantage, most notably his skills as a homeless and a craftsman. Near the end of last season, he demonstrated his ability to attract contact and reach the free-throw line, as evidenced by a 10-for-12 display on the bar in a big win over the Portland Trail Blazers in late February and 7-for-10 attempts against the Memphis Grizzlies in late March.
Golden State envisions Moody as a powerful 3D groundbreaker who can take advantage of his 7-foot-1 wingspan on the defensive end. As a rookie, Moody shot 36.4% from depth on more than two attempts per game.
What exactly Weizmann could do remains a question mark. He lacks the sample size of his younger teammates, but Wiseman had a solid summer league and provided glimpses of how the Warriors would like to use him: as a typical edge guard who shifts shots and catches rebounds. When attacking, he’ll mostly live near the edge, but the team won’t dissuade him from letting her fly from behind the arc in open attempts.
– Kendra Andrews
How will EuroBasket affect Giannis, Luka and The Joker? Should teams be concerned about wear?
Where do you stand:
Over twenty NBA players who represented their countries in the latest installment of the EuroBasket – the FIBA European Continental Championship – including three members of last year’s All-NBA First Team: Antetokounmpo, Doncic and Jokic – all of their teams were eliminated before the semi-finals.
The extra miles on star players heading into the season could be a concern, especially with the addition of this year’s World Cup qualifying matches next summer as part of the run-up to the EuroBasket. But the record of these stars indicates that it has not been a problem in the past.
Jokic last represented Serbia in the summer during the 2019 World Cup. He returned to play all 73 Denver Nuggets games in 2019-20, culminating in a run to the Western Conference Finals during the bubble. After Denver was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, Jokic took a long break after winning two back-to-back MVPs.
The last time I played EuroBasket in 2017, Doncic helped solidify his potential in the NBA by leading Slovenia to the gold medal along with MVP Goran Dragic. He later became the youngest ever Euroleague player. Because Slovenia did not qualify for the last World Cup, Doncic then took the field for his country at last summer’s Olympics. Although enough time passed after that competition for Doncic to enter training camp heavier than his normal playing weight – which shouldn’t be the case this time around – he showed plenty of stamina as he led the Dallas Mavericks to this year’s West Finals.
Giannis missed his last EuroBasket match due to a knee injury, but did play in the 2019 World Cup. He came back from that competition to win his second MVP award in a row, averaging a 29.5-highest PPG in 2019-20 (since surpassing last season). Giannis also enjoyed a longer summer than usual after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round despite his championships.
– Kevin Bilton