If you haven't been paying attention, there's a storm a-brewin' in Oklahoma City. Clearly, this team is done tanking, but are we underrating how capable this team is? One of the youngest teams in league history that plays hard with an unselfish and fluid brand of basketball. 10th in defensive rating. 14th in offensive rating. With less than a month...
ICT Zone NBA 2022-2023 Season Predictions
ICT Zone NBA 2022-2023 Season Predictions
Let's Go! The season is back. The off-season felt fast at some points and slow at other points. I blame Kevin Durant for messing up the flow, but nonetheless, it's an exciting time. We here at the ICT Zone have come together to put together a list of predictions for the upcoming season. We plan on revisiting these takes throughout the season.
Khaqan: Warriors vs Bucks
I really like the Clippers' chances, but the Warriors have too much talent in that system. The Bucks have a hungry Giannis.
Victor: Dallas Mavericks vs. Boston Celtics.
Dallas looked almost unstoppable towards the end of last season and the Celtics have a lot to prove across all fronts.
Jake: Bucks vs. Warriors
Wanted to pick the Clippers but I can't trust it. The Warriors have the best roster in basketball and I think that the Bucks were the team to beat before the Middleton injury. The Bucks are one more decent scorer anyway from being really trustworthy so they can stop relying on Grayson Allen for points.
Ryan: Bucks vs Clippers
The Bucks have the best basketball player in the world, and the Celtics lost their head coach. The East has a few title contenders, but Milwaukee is the safest bet with their championship DNA. The Clippers are a bigger question mark, but when healthy, they have the most talented roster in the league.
Kevin: Miami vs clippers
- Let's not forget how close Miami was last year, I see improvements in Bam and Herro pushing them farther plus I believe great coaching and defense gets you far and Spo is a genius
Top 3 MVP voting:
Defensive Player of The Year:
Khaqan: Joel Embiid
- Might reward Embiid for anchoring the top defense in the league on a team that should win over 50 games.
Victor: Bam Adebayo
- Gobert is on a new team, Marcus Smart got cooked in the finals, and all of a sudden Bam has the most momentum for the award.
I don't see another guard winning. Rudy is a weird one cause he is in Minnesota now, and I think Bam's chances will be hurt by the Heat regressing significantly.
Ryan: Rudy Gobert
- If Gobert can lead the Timberwolves to a top-10 defense with KAT at the power forward position, he will further cement himself as one of the greatest defenders of all-time
Kevin: Rudy Gobert
- Rudy cause fuck it why not.
Most Improved Player
Khaqan: Jalen Brunson
- Brunson will unlock the Knicks. He has never shown signs that he was some type of fluke.
Victor: Anfernee Simons.
Huge Simons fan here.
Jake: Anthony Edwards
- I don't always agree with how this award is given. But it usually appears to go to a player in their third season that went from already good, to great (and the team wins a lot of games). I think this award has Edwards written all over it. I know that is the boring pick. A more fun pick would be Devin Vassell or RJ Barrett.
Ryan: Scottie Barnes
- In my opinion, a bad precedent was set with Ja Morant winning this award last year. It's now acceptable for top picks EXPECTED to become stars to win MIP. This trend will be made more apparent with Barnes continuing his upward trajectory.
Kevin: Tyrese Maxey
- He never took a vacation in his life homie constantly works on his game and with the pressure of Joel and harden he's gonna be able to absolutely eat this year
6th Man of the Year:
Khaqan: Jordan Poole
- He's going to be in charge of one of the most talented second units in the league.
Victor: Jordan Poole
He's the best starting caliber player that will be coming off a team's bench.
Jake: Jordan Poole
Great scorer that has so many other players taking pressure off of him.
Ryan: Tyler Herro
- There are a few interesting options for this award, but Herro is by far the safest bet, assuming he doesn't end up starting games this year. His scoring output is unmatched by bench players.
Kevin: Norman Powell
- There's so many lineups clips can play around with but imo bringing Norman off the bench as the main guy he can solidify his spot as the winner of this award
Rookie of The Year
Khaqan: Paolo Banchero
Victor: Paolo Banchero
- By far the best rookie in the league.
Jake: Keegan Murray
Paulo is the best rookie, but I think the Kings will win more games than the Magic. I also think Murray will have a really solid and efficient year. Paulo I could see being very inefficient.
Ryan: Paolo Banchero
- My initial choice to win this award, Chet Holmgren, is out for the season. With that, Banchero will get all the offensive possessions he wants to score, and he'll likely have high rebounding numbers
Kevin: Paolo Banchero - obviously
Coach of the Year
Khaqan: Willie Green
- If i'm right about this: Pelicans Finish as Top-4 Seed Next Season, then Willie has to be a front runner.
Victor: Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd continues to improve as a coach and I could see the Mavs winning 60+
Jake: Chris Finch
- Coach of the year just goes to a team that wins a lot of regular season games. Timberwolves should do that (Keyword is regular).
Ryan: Chris Finch
- There's a real possibility the Timberwolves end up a top 4 seed in the West. If that happens, expect Finch to get his recognition as an elite head coach.
Kevin: Ty Lue
- The dream of Giannis's developing jump-shot seems closer and closer to becoming a reality. Also, runner up Zion Williamson?
Victor: Luka Doncic
He is a walking bucket. Averaged 30.2 points a game after the All-star game last season and continued that with 32 a game in the playoffs.
Jake: Luka Doncic
- Not even really a contest.
Ryan: Luka Doncic
- Luka will have the ball in his hands more than ever with Jalen Brunson departing the Mavericks, leading to a scoring title for the Dallas superstar.
Kevin: Luka Doncic
Khaqan: Indiana Pacers
- They just have too many solid young players led by Tyrese Haliburton under Head Coach Rick Carlisle. I could see them making the play-in tournament.
Victor: Detroit Pistons
This Ivey-Cunningham combo bouta go crazy.
Jake: Sacramento and Knicks
- Don't care, I am picking two. The Kings are actually not that bad, and the Knicks are better than everyone seems to give them credit for.
Ryan: Sacramento Kings
- I predict the Kings will make the play-in, which is a lot better than they've done for any of the past 16 years since they last made the playoffs.
Kevin: Atlanta Hawks
- I think hawks gonna go hella far this year. Onyeka Okongwu will step up big. I think Trae Young is going to shine with a new off ball role. He's so fast and he's gonna be a bootleg Curry they're athletic and always had a high powered offense bringing in Dejounte adds a new layer. Cavs same argument with the Cavs bringing in Donovan Mitchell. The combo of Allen and Mobley is insane.
Khaqan: Charlotte Hornets
- They still have decent players, but the cloud of this team makes me think they'll have no choice but to hit the hard reset button by the deadline.
Victor: Utah Jazz
- It's clear they're tanking.
Jake: Utah Jazz
- Bro aint even trying
Ryan: San Antonio Spurs
- The Spurs just don't have a lot of established talent. Outside of Keldon Johnson(who will now be tasked with being a number one option on offense) and Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio is filled with question marks all across the roster
Kevin: Charlotte Hornets - lol
Khaqan: Atlanta Hawks
- I know they traded for Dejounte Murray, but I'm still not sure what the Hawks actually are. They could easily click at some point, but I think they have some work to do in order to get there.
Victor: LA Clippers
- Idk what they've done to earn the hype they have again, yet here we are.
Jake: Chicago Bulls
- I am not sure they even make the playoffs. I also think the Heat fall off.
Ryan: Memphis Grizzlies
- To me, the Grizzlies overachieved greatly last year. I expect they'll be brought back down to Earth just a little bit this year, settling in around the 5-6 seed range in the West standings.
Kevin: Boston Celtics.
- I just think with Ime meme'ing himself I feel like they won't have that leadership to push them for a far run again. They're gonna be good but I think everyone expects them to make a deep run and I just don't see it.
Best Off-Season Move
Khaqan: Nuggets trading for KCP and signing Bruce Brown
- Come playoff time, those two acquisitions will make all the difference in the world for Denver especially if Bruce Brown can hit 3s.
Victor: Dejounte Murray.
- Frees Trae Young from his playmaking and team leading duties, while also adding a borderline elite defender to complement him.
Jake: Dejounte Murray
- The Hawks needed a defensive guard badly. Could be a huge piece for that next step. Second place Donovan Mitchell.
Ryan: Malcolm Brogdon trade
- The acquisition of Brogdon on the cheap gives the Celtics something they haven't had in years: a great scoring and facilitating bench player. Expect Brogdon to be a 6MOY award finalist if he can stay relatively healthy
Kevin: Guys on NBA on TNT getting long year deals
Worst Off-Season Move
Khaqan: Nets trading a first round pick for Royce O'Neale
- Reeks of a GM knowing he's about to get fired. If this whole thing implodes like everyone knows it is going to, then that first round pick might have great value.
Victor: Rudy Gobert to Timberwolves.
- The primary benefit to Gobert is his paint defense, a category the Timberwolves already excel at. That's a lot of pieces to give up.
Jake: Bradley Beal resigning
- Guys Victor is available
Ryan: Hawks trading for Dejounte Murray
- Murray and Trae Young will both have to show they can play without the ball in their hands, and the price to acquire Murray was more than one would've expected. I think his fit on the team is clunky at best, which isn't great for an all-in move like this
Kevin: Facundo Campazzo to the mavs.
- Cause I love watching the mavs and Compazzo hella annoying so it's gonna take some love away from watching the mavs
Obscure Player Most Excited About
Khaqan: Wendell Carter Jr
- The front court of Wagner, Banchero, and Carter is something I'll be really paying attention to.
Victor: Obi Toppin
- He's looked great through the preseason.
Jake: Franz Wagner
- Not sure if he counts as obscure, but I want to see if he takes that next step towards a DPOTY or all-star. I think he really could be that good. Also Saddiq Bey. I wanna see if he takes that third year jump towards being more efficient.
Ryan: Jaylen Nowell
- Nowell has been one of the best-kept secrets in the NBA coming off the Wolves' bench. With the 6th-man spot his for the taking this year now that Malik Beasley is gone, you'll see Nowell turn some heads as one of the premier offensive bench options in the league
Kevin: Omer Yurtseven
- I've been high on this guy ever since he averaged me like 35 pts a game in fantasy last year and god damn he doesn't look like he can ball at all but that would be fire to see him go off. Heat have a good way of developing players so there's a reason they picked him 👀 also Jae MF CROWDER never forget the BOSSMANN.
Star Most Likely to Get Traded
Khaqan: Bradley Beal
- There's a part of me that thinks this Wizards team could be successful, but If I had to bet money the Wizards are going to be back drafting in the lottery.
Victor: Deandre Ayton
- It's clear as day he does not want to be there.
Jake: Deandre Ayton
- Keywords are most likely. Although I think DeRozan could be gone too.
Ryan: Deandre Ayton
- The Phoenix Suns have been surrounded by turmoil of late, and Ayton has shown to be one of the most disgruntled players in the league. Unless his role on the team is upgraded, I expect to request to be traded by mid season.
Kevin: Deandre Ayton
Ayton, that boi gone
Coach Most Likely to Get Fired
Khaqan: Steve Nash - lol
Victor: Tom Thibodeau
- He tends to wear a franchise thin after a while.
Jake: Chauncey Billups
- I have serious doubts about him as a coach and I think that Portland is an extremely dysfunctional franchise right now. An unproven coach in a pretty do or die situation, sounds good lol.
Ryan: Nate McMillan
- This goes with my opinion on the Hawks' trade for Dejounte Murray. After making the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago, the Hawks fell off hard last year. If they are a disappointment again, McMillan's seat will start to get pretty hot.
Kevin: Ime Udoka
- I think Ime would probably get fired, I feel like he doesn't really appreciate Nia long and is just going to fuck everything up being a horndog that he is, I know it's a wild take but I feel it.
One Team You Don't Care About
Khaqan: Philadelphia 76ers
- I know they are going to be contenders this year, but I really just don't find them interesting to watch. Harden in a Doc Rivers offense doesn't peak my interest in any way.
Victor: Washington Wizards
- You couldn't pay me to watch a game.
Jake: Washington Wizards
- The only team that would actively pay Beal a billion dollars and not try to get Victor.
Ryan: Portland Trail Blazers
- Did the Blazers improve their roster? Sure. Are they any more than a play-in team at best? Nah. Portland is stuck in NBA purgatory, and they do not have my attention in the slightest.
Kevin: Chicago Bulls
- I don't care for the Kings for obvious reasons but for a non obvious answer I'm going with Chicago they just don't do it for me I feel like there's a lack of discipline/leadership in that team so they can't go far but they're not bad so they're just eh.
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