NBA off-season recaps, predictions for upcoming season

by Hunter Baylous/Staff Writer

If you follow the NBA you understand how impactful this NBA off-season has been: with a draft class comparable to the historic class of 2003, some unexpected trades, free agents signings, and injuries. I have compiled some of the most influential information and the under-the- radar information that could possibly affect your favorite NBA teams. 

The most important trades:

    Possibly the craziest move this offseason was the Jazz-Cavaliers trade. The trade includes the Cavs trading: Collins Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, 3 first-round picks, and 2 pick swaps, all in exchange for the 25 year old all-star Donovan Mitchell. With this trade transaction the Eastern Conference is even more stacked as five other teams are considered championship contenders. The Jazz had also traded their multiple time Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves for: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beaverley, Leonardo Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, and four first round picks. Coming into this season the Utah Jazz are projected to begin intentionally losing games this season to secure good draft positions as they have acquired nine future draft picks. (Information acquired from Rudy Gobert Trade & Donovan Mitchell Trade)

    Another unexpected trade was undoubtedly the Dejounte Murray trade to Atlanta. The Spurs traded Dejounte Murray for Danilo Gallinari and three first round picks. As this trade happened many people assumed that the Atlanta Hawks would have a deep playoffs run as their star point guard, TraeYoung, is subpar at defense but an excellent shot creator and Dejounte Murray being a star player as well ,leading the San Antonio Spurs in points, assist, steals, and was 2nd in rebounding for the organization. ( Information acquired from Dejounte Murray Trade)

Free agent movement:

    Now with the Free-Agent signings the Los Angeles Clippers signed the 31 year old, five time All star, John Wall to improve their backcourt. Jalen Brunson signed a $100 million 4-year deal to join the New York Knicks, who now have a backcourt of Evan Fournier and Jalen Brunson. The center ,Christian Wood, was signed to the Dallas Mavericks after the loss of Jalen Brunson. Otto Porter Jr. , who was on the championship team Golden State Warriors, now moves to Toronto to join the Raptors. Goran Dragic, the dragon, and the elite rebounder, Andre Drummond join the Chicago Bulls. (Information acquired from John Wall signing & Free Agents Tracker)

Injuries / Returns:

    The most notable injury this off-season was the second pick of the 2022 NBA draft Chet Holmgreen, who was drafted to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chet Holmgreen suffered a Lisfranc foot injury (a foot injury where one or more metatarsal bones are displaced with a sudden force to the mid foot or arch of the foot Lisfranc Injury)during a rec game in Seattle ended his rookie season. Kawhi Leonard is expected to come back but not play at least 65 games. Jaren Jackson Jr. also suffered a foot injury described as a stress fracture and is expected to return on Christmas. Jamal Murray is also expected to return this season and has some top 50+ potential if he stays healthy this season. Finally Zion Williamson is also expected to come back and play after only playing around 85 games in his 3 season career. (Information Acquired from Basketball Injury updates and returns)

Teacher Interview:

    With all this information I’ve listed here I wanted to ask someone who was passionate about the NBA that many students may know at this school. Mr. Kevin Potter, an economics teacher, is an avid NBA fan and possibly follows the league the most out of everyone I know. Mr. Potter stated that the biggest shocker during the off-season, in his opinion, was the Rudy Gobert trade due to the value that he was traded for. As Mr. Potter said, “ I figured that Rudy would be moved, but not for that price or to this team.”  Mr. Potter also stated, “For Utah this was a dream come true. You unload a player who wanted to leave while still receiving a haul! Plus they’re now better equipped to tank for (Victor) Wembanyana.” Although it was a very surprising move, Mr. Potter believes that both teams have benefited from the trade. He also believes the Donovan Mitchell trade was a great move as they were one of the worst teams in the league; he believes his talents were wasted there. 

The Dejounte Murray trade was also a trade he was passionate about. As Mr. Potter explained, “Dejounte Murray has been one of my favorite players in the league out of UW. His defensive consistency and basketball IQ make for an almost perfect pairing with Trae Young in Atlanta.” He and some analysts believe that the Hawks are going to be dangerous later in the season as they outpace other teams and could possibly steal a round in the playoffs. Although the Hawks gave up 3 first-rounders, Mr. Potter said, “You never want to unload first round picks if you don’t need to, but I’d argue that this trade all but guarantees that those picks fall from 20-30.” With the increased star power of the Hawks, many people believe their lottery picks are to fall tremendously.

Mr. Potter was not exactly excited about the free agency movement but he did give his thoughts about it. He expects John Wall not to be super productive but said, “…he just needs to D up and be a cog in the arguably the deepest team in the NBA.” His opinion on the Jalen Brunson move was similar to other analysts saying, “I like Brunson a lot but can’t envision him as much more than a #3/4 player on a legitimate contender. I expect him to post impressive assist numbers with the volume of shoot-first players on this roster, but also expect his scoring to take a hit.”

Finally, possibly the things he was the most in depth about were the returning players and player injuries. As he said the Chet injury was possibly the most heartbreaking, as he has some serious potential to be a great defensive force and shot maker but, “Unfortunately we’ve seen how guys with this build have panned out over the last few years…” Possibly the thing he and many NBA fans are the most excited for is the return of Zion Williamson, with Zion really cutting down on the weight, and taking conditioning seriously. “People slept on the Pels last season while they quietly assembled the perfect players to compliment Zion’s downhill attacking style. Teams are going to be giving up TONS of threes doubling a driving Zion this year…” This was his main point with the return of Zion Williamson, as the young player is very dominant when it comes to attacking the painted area.