The 2022-23 NBA season is tipping off and we have our Lineups Staff picks for NBA Futures. Find our predictions below for the NBA Champion, MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, 6th Man of the Year, and Coach of the Year.
2022-23 NBA Futures Lineups Staff Picks
Luka is one of the preseason favorites to win MVP this season; he was last year, too, but he got off to a slow start. If he can play the entire year how he played the last half of the 2021-22 season, he’ll be a lock for MVP. Paolo Banchero is the heavy favorite to win ROY after Chet Holmgren suffered a season-ending foot injury. It’s hard to see any other rookie matching Banchero’s productivity and usage in their first year. For 6MOY, I went with Tyler Herro as he will again be leaned on significantly for scoring production. The only other real threats are Jordan Poole and darkhorses like Bones Hyland. Still, Herro’s consistency within the offense will allow him to have strong output virtually every game
While Rudy Gobert is a favorite to win DPOY, I think Giannis might pry it away from him. After a disappointing end to last season, Giannis should be laser-focused on both ends of the floor, and has the benefit of not only being capable of blocking shots, but jumping passing lanes, and getting steals. Lastly, I picked the Los Angeles Clippers as my NBA Champion. The bottom line is the Clippers are returning Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and also brought in Norman Powell, Robert Covington, and John Wall. Expect Los Angeles to be a top-tier three-point shooting team and an elite defensive squad.
Nikola Jokic carrying the C-Level Nuggets to a 48-win season in the Western Conference was truly impressive and a big reason he won a consecutive MVP award. Health is going to be a big factor for any team but even more so for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are due back, which eleveates the starting lineup and adds depth to the lineup with Bruce Brown, Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, Bones Hyland, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as secondary options. While plenty of teams should be considered, the Nuggets continously provide the best value on the board.
Staying in the Western Conference for my Coach of the Year pick, Tyronn Lue’s odds are too good to pass up and really shouldn’t be this long. He has done a tremendous job managing the superstar circus that has been the Clippers in recent seasons. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s load management and injury issues have not led to a downturn in the Clippers success. If he gets healthy and the Clippers finish 1-2 in the Western Conference, Lue is going to be in contenion.
This is likely the year Luka Doncic wins the award but Joel Embiid is certainly someone who can continue an MVP like season from last year. Embiid posted a ridiculous 30 and 11 last season, while providing strong defense on the other side. Odds are long enough to look at Embiid. Former MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of, if not, the best two-way player in the game right now. Rudy Gobert is a heavy favorite for this one but I rather grab these odds from a value standpoint. Giannis won this award back in 2020 and outside of last year it has gone to a forward or center in every season since 1996 when Gary Payton won.
Joining the Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon will be in a prime spot to be one of the top bench players this season. Playing meaningful basketball and around a talented roster will get him in the conversation. He likely won’t dominate scoring like a Jordan Poole but if the voters look at the overall impact, Brogdon could have an edge. Health has been the downside to Brogdon’s career, so that is the negative here.
I am going to avoid the chalky Rookie of the Year picks and find someone with longer odds. Bennedict Mathurin landed in a great spot to storm out of the gates. Mathurin shot 38% from three in two seasons at Arizona and 45% from the field. He rebounds well and will have opportunities to notch a few assists per game. Ultimately this is a rookie scoring award and the potential is there to be among the top rookies, especially if Buddy Hield gets traded. Mathurin will have plenty of minutes off the bench in the meantime and then step into a larger role as the season goes on.
The Dallas Mavericks at +2700 are the top value play in NBA Championship futures markets right now. Understandably the loss of Jalen Brunson this offseason is a blow to some of their versatility on offense, but his absence doesn’t take away from what makes them a contender. The two prerequisites for winning a championship in today’s NBA, seemingly, are (1) having an offensive player that is impossible to consistently scheme around and (2) having a versatile defense that can switch anything. Check and check for the Mavericks. This team returns a lot of pieces from last year, and, with one of the tallest starting lineups in the NBA, their defensive first approach will serve them well in the playoffs. If Luka stays healthy, they can beat anyone in the league.
For the MVP, Joel Embiid at +600 is an attractive selection. Between Jokic and Giannis fatigue over the past 5 years, the door is open for someone new. Not only do some believe Embiid got snubbed last year, baking in some journalistic desire for him to get the award, but the 76ers should also be better this season with Harden having a more defined role and Maxey set to take a leap.
Rookie of the year I like Paolo Banchero at +200. The Magic have enough talent on their roster to take a step forward and the offense will almost undoubtedly run through Banchero more than any other rookie this season.
Defensive player of the year, Giannis at +1000 is some good value. There is some Gobert fatigue with this award and Giannis has only won it once. The Bucks are set up to be stalwarts defensively and his winning of this award can be a justification for not winning the MVP depending on what the voting committee decides to do.
For 6th man of the year, there is some value in taking a flier on Jaylen Nowell at +8000. The 4th year player out of Washington has been a consistently efficient player — averaging 47.5 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from 3 — who just hasn’t seen the minutes to get the counting stats. This year he will, and if his play reflects what he’s shown, he will be in this discussion.
Finally, I’ll take Nick Nurse +1400 to win coach of the year. The Raptors are too good to not be competent and they have a savvy rotation capable of pulling off wins against teams that have superior talent.
With the best value on the board in my opinion, I’m going with the Denver Nuggets to win the NBA championship this season. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic didn’t let the injury bug that ravaged the team bother him, leading the team in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, and assists. He was so essential to the team’s postseason run I’m pretty sure he even drove the team bus and booked hotels along the way.
He will finally get a supporting staff to work off of, with Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray returning from injury and the offseason acquisition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the Washington Wizards. That’s a solid starting lineup. Jokic won’t have to do it all this season, and while he might not bring home an MVP award again this year, something tells me he and the Nuggets will settle for a championship trophy.
The Milwaukee Bucks (+800) are my pick to win the NBA Finals. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in the world who will fight for MVP and DPOY this season. He’s utterly unstoppable in the paint and in transition while also having the capability to rack up assists through technical passing. Giannis’ impact on teammate shot quality cannot be stressed enough. Middleton’s hyper-efficient off the dribble shooting allows him to exploit mismatches, and he proved his worth during the 2021 Playoffs. Holiday, meanwhile, suffocates opposing ball handlers and forces turnovers. On offense, he’s efficient as a spot up shooter or as an off the dribble scorer, and he can act as a primary playmaker. Outside of their trio, they own a plethora of lethal catch and shoot players that can also defend. This squad almost defeated the Boston Celtics without Middleton, which is a testament to Giannis’ abilities and the roster’s strength.
I am taking Embiid (+650) to win MVP because I expect another statline around 30/12/4 with the 76ers racking up wins. He will truly produce an MVP-worthy season, which is part one of the battle. The second part involves narrative, and Embiid has an advantage here. Voter fatigue will eliminate Jokic from the conversation, and I believe Philadelphia’s superior record elevates Embiid above Giannis in the conversation despite Giannis being the superior player. The biggest remaining threat is Luka, but Embiid’s clear defensive advantage will be the kicker in this debate. Plus, the fact that he’s never won aids him.
Paolo (+180) is the most talented rookie and clear ROY choice; he can rack up counting stats in points, rebound and assists. Paolo will receive heavy playing time immediately, and his biggest competition (Chet Holmgren) is out for the year due to injury.
It’s boring, but Rudy Gobert (+425) is my DPOY selection. In the regular season, he absolutely locks down the paint and holds opponents to far below their expected shooting percentage. With his move to Minnesota, Gobert has the chance to prove his dominance translates to any team. DPOY is also a big man award usually, which aids Gobert’s case.
Bones Hyland (+1400) of the Denver Nuggets is my 6MOY pick. He’s a microwave scorer off the bench who scored 10.1 PPG during his rookie season. Hyland looked fantastic in the pre-season, and his case will revolve around the fact that he will be the leading bench scorer on a Nuggets squad that racks up wins. Hyland also sprinkles in some rebounds and assists, which boosts his chances.
For MIP, Patrick Williams (+5000) is a great value play. He’s been a solid 3&D player, but he can elevate his name to the premier tier while adding some off the dribble scoring. Williams is a long shot, but it’s reasonable he could become Mikal Bridges-esque this season, which may be enough to win the award.
Finally, Tyronn Lue (+1300) is my COY pick. The Clippers have almost too much talent, and Lue has to navigate a potential frustrated locker room. Kawhi Leonard’s injury concerns must also be managed, as well as high expectations for this team. Lue is one of the most talented coaches in the league who can circumvent these problems and take home the award.
Aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic adding a second MVP to their trophy cases, it seems like the award tends to go to the next player in line. Joel Embiid (+600) is the next player in line. He was downright dominant throughout the second half last season, morphing from an all-star into one of the league’s clear best players. If he stays healthy and the 76ers stay near the top of the East, Embiid should be the frontrunner for MVP over the usual suspects.
Time will tell whether Paolo Banchero (+180) is the best player to come out of his draft class, but he certainly looks like the most NBA-ready prospect. Though the odds don’t provide a ton of value, it’s tough to see his scoring ability not translating to the NBA immediately. Even with Franz Wagner in the frontcourt, the opportunities will be there for Banchero to take the Rookie of the Year award. If not, Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin is an under-the-radar candidate.
Defensive Player of the Year is one of the toughest awards to predict, and I’m staying away from favorite Rudy Gobert as he adjusts to a new environment. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1000) will again be asked to do plenty of work on the defensive end for the Bucks, and he already proved he can win this award with his length and ridiculous motor. I’ll take Antetokounmpo to win a second Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Spencer Dinwiddie (+2000) could be a prime Sixth Man of the Year candidate. He has the track record and will be asked to do plenty of scoring in Dallas, but Jason Kidd confirmed he’ll primarily be coming off the bench. Considering Jalen Brunson’s production needs to be replaced and Dinwiddie shot much more efficiently after the trade to the Mavericks, the former Nets guard is my pick.
I love what the Pelicans are building – even with higher expectations this season, I have a feeling they’ll catch people off guard with their success. Coach Willie Green (+1500) took an undermanned team that started 1-12 and made it believe last season. Now, Zion Williamson is back and New Orleans has an ideal blend of top-tier talent and depth. If the Pelicans put it all together, voters could look to Green as Coach of the Year.
Finally, I’m picking the Milwaukee Bucks (+550) to win the NBA Finals. If the grueling run to the Finals takes a toll on the Warriors and Celtics, the Bucks and Clippers might be next up to take their place. The Bucks have the best player in the world, they have plenty of depth, and I don’t expect Khris Middleton’s wrist injury to be a long-term issue. If healthy, the Bucks might’ve returned to the Finals last season. I like Milwaukee’s chances of a second title in three years.
It would be easy to pick Joel Embiid as the MVP for this season based on the conventional narrative that he is “due” after finishing as the runner-up for two years in a row. There is some definite logic in that, as the MVP is a narrative award and if Embiid puts together another MVP-caliber season, he will have plenty of voters liking the story behind him finally winning that award. As a diehard 76ers fan, nothing would make me happier (unless my next pick hits!). However, as a betting analyst, I don’t like the +600 odds enough to make him my pick. Ja Morant was getting some MVP buzz for parts of last season after leading the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in the West. He is an electrifying player and if he takes another big leap forward and the Grizzlies remain a top team in the West, as I expect they will, I could definitely see a strong narrative building around a Morant MVP award, and I like his odds at +1400.
My Philly fandom will show in my pick of the 76ers to win the title this year. I love what they did in the offseason, addressing their biggest needs by adding two-way versatility, toughness and depth with the acquisitions of PJ Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House Jr. and Montrezl Harrell. Tyrese Maxey is a rising star who gives the Sixers a legitimate big three with Embiid and James Harden. They will have a full season of a presumably healthy Harden and without the headache created by Ben Simmons last year, which didn’t stop them from winning 51 games. Everyone loves the value on Jokic and the Nuggets with the pieces they are getting back from injury, but at +1300 the 76ers have just as much value with a more clear path to the finals.
Let’s stick with the Sixers theme and pick Embiid to take home some hardware with the DPOY award. Embiid is the anchor of a defense that should once again be among the best in the league. He has received DPOY votes in three of the last five years, and was the runner-up in 2018. There could also be some narrative support for him winning this award as something of a consolation prize if he once again gets passed over for MVP, and I like the value with +1800 odds.
For Sixth Man of the Year, I’m backing Tyler Herro to win it again, and I’m not sure why he is not at least a co-favorite with Jordan Poole. Voters like going back to the well with repeat winners for this award (see Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams), and between Poole and Herro, the latter is getting much better odds at +1000.
Paolo Banchero would be another easy pick for Rookie of the Year, and he’s the favorite for good reason, but there isn’t much value in picking the favorite. Instead, give me a high-flying guard in Jaden Ivey from an exciting, up-and-coming Pistons team. Ivey is an athletic freak who will make some highlight reel plays, and he’s in line to begin the season in the starting lineup. While his usage rate may not be as high as other rookies thanks to the presence of Cade Cunningham, the opportunity and the eye test may be enough for him to win this award.
As a Clippers fan, I can’t help but recommend my team for the NBA Championship futures market. At +700, the odds are fairly short, but I believe you’re still getting good value on what should be the favorites to win the title. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy, the Clippers have a dominant one-two star tandem. They also have the deepest roster in the NBA along with arguably the best coach in the sport.
Speaking of that coach, I believe it’s finally time for Tyronn Lue to get his due as the Coach of the Year. He could have won the award last season as the Clippers scratched and clawed their way to 42 wins despite dealing with among the most injuries in the league. If the Clippers are able to surge to a top three seed, the narrative should be strong for Lue.
I’m rounding out my Clippers futures portfolio with Norman Powell to win Sixth Man of the Year. Powell is one of the most versatile players on the roster, and he can serve as both an on-ball playmaker and off-ball shooter in bench lineups. There’s no question that he will be part of many closing lineups in games, and if he can put up around 17 ppg in 30+ minutes per game, he’ll be a top candidate for the award.
For Rookie of the Year, I selected Paolo Banchero despite the short odds on him in the market. It seems that the Magic will waste no time in handing over the offense to him, and he put up 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal in just 27 minutes in his last preseason game. If he can fill up the stat sheet like that, he’ll coast to winning this award.
In another short-odds selection, I’m taking Luka Doncic to win the MVP award. He’s reportedly the most locked in he’s ever been with his fitness and nutrition over the offseason, which will help him get off to a fast start. The recent departures of Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson will have Doncic see a career-high usage rate and he could flirt with a 30-point triple double average this year.
Finally, I’m taking Joel Embiid to win Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, Marcus Smart won this award, not because he was the most excellent individual defender in the league, but because he was a crucial part of the best team defense. Embiid’s 76ers could be the best team defense after adding P.J. Tucker and De’Anthony Melton to the mix, and it’s time for the big man to finally win a major award.