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2022-23 NBA Lookahead: Zion Williamson, Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray among next season's 10 most interesting players

If there’s a dead time on the year-round NBA calendar, it’s early August. We’re all sitting in a Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell holding pattern, so all we can do now is look ahead to what’s currently available. List 10 players. They’re all for slightly different reasons, but they all have a big conspiracy.

After playing in just 85 games in his first three NBA seasons, Williamson will hand over a five-year contract extension worth up to $231 million this summer, guaranteed to pay $193 million it was done. The deal has a weight clause. If Williamson’s body fat percentage and weight go above his 295, he could lose part of his security deposit, but that would only happen if the Pelicans fired him. If so, things would be completely out of order.

For all intents and purposes, the Pelicans are on the hook to pay a cap-crushing amount to a man who has struggled so hard to stay on the court over the next five years. have While on the court, he was virtually unstoppable. His scoring efficiency hovers between extraordinary and downright historic. His ability to go left downhill often starts the beat before the catch when everyone knows that’s where he wants to go. The second jump is much faster and less explosive than his.

You don’t need Zion’s reconnaissance report anyway. he is great So will the Pelicans if he plays 65-70 games. For me, he’s the most interesting player in the league going into this season.

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Submit this to your “obvious reason” ledger. After last season’s drama, hopes for Simmons’ expected return to the court couldn’t be higher. First and foremost, is he mentally ready to play?The Nets hinted Simmons could return at the end of his series in the playoffs against the Celtics, but the 3- I threw it away when I lost by 0. Was it really just a physical issue?

Even inside the Nets, no one really knows what to expect from Simmons. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving staying in Brooklyn would be a great situation for Simmons, who wouldn’t have to be the main creator/scorer and could focus on defense, transitions, cutting/rolling and fan fiction. Does he have to commit to such a peripheral aggressive role? So many questions.

If Simmons is on the court, everyone’s eyes will be on him early on and I’ll be rooting for him. Strange I say. I’ve never particularly liked Simmons’ game and, like most people, I hated the way he handled Philadelphia’s exit. When I couldn’t stop raving about it, I couldn’t stand the words “I’m smarter than you.” Especially in a playoff setting, everyone thinks he might stink a bit, so I flipped out. Oddly enough, the player with the biggest contract and the #1 overall is actually kind of the underdog. i dig it

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If Murray deserves Denver on opening night, it’s been almost 18 months since he last appeared in an NBA game after torturing his ACL in April 2021. Personally, I can’t wait to see him play again. Murray has the potential to be one of the league’s most exciting players and if he gets it right, especially if Michael Porter Jr. is healthy too, the Nuggets will be top title contenders in his tier. will be But how long will it take Murray to get back up to speed?One thing Denver doesn’t have to worry about is continuity. Murray and Nikola Jokic should pick up pretty much where they left off as a tandem.

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There are a handful of very interesting newcomers we all follow closely, but for me Holmgren is the most intriguing. I know. Will he be able to physically hold up? Aren’t we making too much of his slim frame like we did with Kevin Durant?Watching Holmgren make room on the floor for his SGA drive and play a pass from Josh Giddy? I can’t wait. If he’s what the rim protector experts say, he could be pretty special in no time.

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Edwards is at the height of stardom. No athlete in the league is more breathtaking and his scoring charisma is heady. This guy rightly believes he can’t be stopped, and he may be right. Let’s get that 35% of his 3-point numbers closer to his 40% shot in the playoffs. With the addition of Rudy Gobert, Minnesota is looking to do just that. How great Edwards is consistently and on both ends greatly affects what “it” means.

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Lillard basically took the off last season. He is healthy now.Blazers to Lillard Hopefully Adequate defensive support. Still, the only way the Blazers can become a half-hearted player in the West is for Lillard to become a superhero. We’ve seen him do it. I’m sure it will work again. Lillard is the closest thing to Stephen Curry. When he’s hot, he needs to stop whatever he’s doing and listen. And he’s made it his mission to be as hot as possible, as often as possible, this season.

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Same deal with Lillard and Murray. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Leonard spend all of last season recovering from a torn ACL. I have a question. It stands to reason that he will, at least on certain nights. Yes, there’s a history of cumulative injuries here, but he’s still only 31. With Paul George back to health and perhaps the deepest roster in the league, the Clippers are arguably in a competitive hierarchy. ready to leap to the top of

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Wiseman is in his third year. His rookie season left much to be desired. He finished his second season. It’s time to see if all this hype the Warriors are throwing around Weisman’s supposedly endless potential is even half justified. He won’t be Golden State’s starting center . That distinction goes to Kevon Looney. But at least he should be a true contributor.

The Warriors are in a big tax bill, with contract extensions looming for Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Don’t rule out the possibility of making a deal to avoid him one or two of those long term contracts. Wiseman could certainly be included in such trades, depending on returns. As a core piece moving forward or a central asset to move in trades, there’s been a lot of focus on Wiseman this season.

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The Lakers are building up now, and assuming LeBron James can still play like one of the best players in the league, they have one chance to contend for the top 4 seed.Davis has to be a superstar. First of all, he has to stay on the court. He has played only his 76 games in the last two his seasons. He limits his minutes to five. You’ll be fine until playoff time. But he needs to be great at 4.

Defensively, he has a lot to cover. Offensively, it mostly comes down to his shooting. If he’s going to keep shooting 3s, that can’t be the 19% of clips he recorded last season, or even the 27% in 2020-21. Started out as literally the worst shooter with over 150 tries scored.

Davis has increased efficiency by attacking in the post and rim, but I think there is an element of conservation here. Hitting the post all season asks for a lot, especially with two big lineups that don’t have a lot of shooting around the stars. He tends to get too settled into it and fade away unnecessarily, but he actually needs to live in the area quite often. Davis has to be consistently great. Frankly, that applies regardless of whether the Lakers end up getting Kyrie Irving, but clearly more if they don’t.

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No one is ready to call Brown a superstar, but he’s not far off. I feel too young. Boston walking away with the underlying star or considering moving him at the cost of possibly giving up too soon in a Brown-Tatum tandem that could result in more than a decade of real competition. is a very fine line. But what if they could get Kevin Durant?

For me, Braun could take another leap this season. No one knows if that will just make him attractive enough for the Nets to lower the asking price of their additional assets, or if Boston will officially close the door on trading with him. Brown has a superstar game. There are many nights when he is Boston’s best player. For me, Brown is one of the most difficult players in the league to evaluate. He’s right in between All-Star and All-NBA. This season presents another batch of evidence that I would like to consider.