Everything you need to know about the 2022-23 NBA season

October 13, 2022
The NBA is back, baby. Regular season tip-off is October 18th, so here’s a little basketball refresher before the hooping begins.
Sports NewsBasketball
Everything you need to know about the 2022-23 NBA season
Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

⚙️ Season setup

It goes like this: The NBA is split evenly into two conferences: 15 teams in the Eastern Conference (EC) and 15 in the Western Conference (WC). Within each conference are three five-team divisions. In the EC, it’s the Atlantic, the Central and the Southeast, while the WC has the Northwest, the Pacific and the Southwest.

  • Each team plays 82 games (41 at home and 41 away) from October to April, with all 30 teams in action on April 9th, the final day of the regular season.

After the regular season comes the playoffs. The top six teams in each conference’s regular season automatically qualify, while the seventh through 10th ranked teams will compete in a play-in tournament for the final two postseason spots in each conference. The drama.

🏆 Reigning champs

Last season, the WC’s Golden State Warriors won their seventh franchise championship — and fourth in eight years (!!!) — beating the EC’s Boston Celtics in six ferocious games. What’s more impressive? The Warriors are in prime position to do it all over again — their core roster hardly changed in the offseason.

  • Now, NBA Finals MVP Steph Curry and the other three members of the Core Four will try to join one of the most exclusive squads in NBA history: the five championships club.

💪 The contenders

Milwaukee Bucks: A healthy Bucks team is the force to be reckoned with. MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (pronounced YAH-niss ah-dedo-KOON-bo) nearly dragged his team to the EC Finals last year after fellow star Khris Middleton exited the postseason early due to injury. The All-Star is expected to return shortly, so Fear the Deer.

LA Clippers: With their front office sparing no expense this offseason, the Clippers boast a roster deeper than the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention, All-Star Kawhi Leonard is back with a vengeance after a partially torn ACL kept him sidelined for 16 months. With his pal Paul George healthy as well, the Clippers are a WC favorite yet again.

Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray’s return takes some of the weight off two-time MVP Nikola Jokic’s very large shoulders, but it’ll take a fully functional Michael Porter Jr. for the Nugs to show the world they have the chemistry to go the distance.

👀 Storylines to watch

Realizing potential: The Brooklyn Nets caused quite a ruckus during the offseason, but there’s no denying this team has talent. If Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons can find their groove, there’s no telling how this season will end.

Offseason moves: There were some major trades this summer, with Donovan Mitchell joining the Cleveland Cavaliers from the Utah Jazz, Dejounte Murray moving to the Atlanta Hawks from the San Antonio Spurs and Rudy Gobert’s (pronounced go-BARE) shocking spin to the Minnesota Timberwolves, also from the Jazz. Expect these NBA elites to shake up these franchises.

A future star: Victor Wembanyama — remember the name. The 7'4" 18-year-old Frenchman is all anyone can talk about these days, with early projections seeding him as the first pick in 2023’s draft. Well, how do you secure the No. 1 seed? You lose — a lot — and hope that the odds are ever in your favor come May’s Draft Lottery.

🇨🇦 Toronto Raptors: #WeTheNorth

The past: The Raptors (somewhat surprisingly) returned to the playoffs after missing their shot in the 2020–21 season when they were temporarily relocated to Tampa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Unfortunately, they lost in six games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. You truly hate to see it.

The rookie: Despite the early postseason exit, Raptors fans were still relatively happy about last season. Why? Because of rookie Scottie Barnes, who was named the 2021–22 Kia Rookie of the Year. Now it’s time to see if Barnes can become the superstar Toronto so desperately needs. Watch this space.

The future: The Raptors’ roster is largely intact from last year, besides the addition of NBA champion forward Otto Porter Jr. Pascal “Spicy P” Siakam will certainly bring the heat, as will All-Star Fred VanVleet, but as far as we’re concerned, the Raptors will go as Barnes goes.

📺 How to watch

Tip-off: The 2022–23 NBA season kicks off Tuesday, October 18th, with a doubleheader on TSN.

  • The Celtics host the 76ers at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the LA Lakers vs. the Warriors at 10 p.m. ET.