4 Bold Predictions For The Los Angeles Lakers In The 2022-23 Season

Written By


lebron ad

The start of the Los Angeles Lakers 2022-23 season is just around the corner as they will take on the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night this coming Tuesday.

A lot was made of the Lakers’ offseason after a disappointing 2021-22 season in which they missed the postseason. The Lakers made significant changes to both the roster and coaching staff in hopes of getting back into contention.

It remains to be seen how that will play out under new head coach Darvin Ham, but before the season gets underway, here are four bold Lakers predictions for 2022-23:

Lakers will get a good trade return for Westbrook

The biggest topic of the offseason in L.A. was whether or not the Lakers would be able to trade Russell Westbrook and his expiring $47 million salary.

They were unsuccessful in doing so and will go into the regular season with Westbrook on the roster. That doesn’t mean he will stay there the entire season though, and my first bold prediction is that the Lakers will actually get a quality return for him between now and the February trade deadline.

During the summer, the few options the Lakers had for trading Westbrook all required the L.A. to send back both of their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.

Those picks hold a lot of value and Rob Pelinka has said he is willing to deal them, but only if the return is great enough that it gets the Lakers back into championship contention.

With teams believing they can compete in 2022-23, the Lakers did not have many realistic trade options to work with this past summer.

But once the season gets halfway through or so and teams start to deal with injuries and poor play, more options will start to open up.

Around NBA circles, all of the talk has been on next year’s draft and Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson. People believe that tanking will be at an all-time high this season and it could start as soon as December.

If that is the case, then plenty of teams will be looking to trade away their quality veterans so they can tank. And who will be waiting with a $47 million expiring contract and two first-round picks? Pelinka and the Lakers.

Darvin Ham will be in mix for Coach of the Year

From what we’ve seen from Ham so far compared to Frank Vogel last season, it’s night and day.

Lakers players are buying into what Ham is preaching and his offensive scheme is getting more open looks for players. As a former player himself, it seems that Ham is more relatable to the players on the roster.

Coming off a season in which the Lakers went just 33-49, if they can see an improvement of at least 10 wins and get back to the postseason then I envision Ham being in the mix for NBA Coach of the Year.

Being the face of the Lakers is no easy task with all the drama that surrounds the organization, so if Ham is able to navigate through all of that then I believe he will get a ton of credit as a first-year head coach, as he should.

Reaves will become full-time starter

The Lakers don’t yet have a set starting unit as Ham has tested out a number of different lineups in the preseason. The roster is obviously very guard-heavy with a number of different quality options to choose from.

But I think one name will emerge from the mix as the season goes along and that’s second-year player Austin Reaves.

Reaves went from undrafted to starting some games for the Lakers last season, and I believe this is the year he makes the leap to becoming a full-time starter.

As we’ve already seen in preseason, Reaves added some much-needed strength this summer which should improve his defense both on and off ball. He has also been tasked with most ball-handling duties so far in exhibition games and has excelled, showing he can fill whatever role the Lakers need him to.

Reaves may not begin the season in the starting lineup with veterans like Westbrook and Patrick Beverley ahead of him. Once he gets his opportunity though, the 24-year-old will make the most of it.

Davis will stay healthy for majority of season

Anthony Davis is a tremendous basketball player, one of the best in the league. But the one thing that has plagued him in recent years is his health. Davis has played just 76 games the last two seasons, but my bold prediction is that he will play close to 70 in the 2022-23 season alone.

Health is hard to predict, especially when a lot of injuries are flukey (particularly in Davis’ case the last two years). But Davis looks like he’s in great shape and ready to prove the doubters wrong this season.

Whoever is selling their Davis stock at age 29, feel free to send it my way as I will gladly buy.