Starting Lineup Predictions 2022: Thunder, Magic, 76ers, Suns, and Blazers


Oklahoma City Thunder

Point Guard: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shooting Guard: Josh Giddey

Small Forward: Lu Dort

Power Forward: Darius Bazley

Center: Derrick Favors

Sixth Man: Aleksej Pokuševski

Due to his foot surgery, the Thunder will play this year’s championship with their power forward, Chet Holmgren. Moreover, Bazley is under scrutiny, as he has one year to prove himself, and if he doesn’t, Pokuevski might replace him, and he will turn into a restricted free agent next season. Meanwhile, Favors is a top trade possibility because his contract is about to expire, but he’ll likely open the season as the starting center. However, Giddey and Gilgeous-Alexander will once again lead this lineup.

Orlando Magic

Point Guard: Cole Anthony

Shooting Guard: Jalen Suggs

Small Forward: Franz Wagner

Power Forward: Paolo Banchero

Center: Wendell Carter Jr.

Sixth Man: Mo Bamba

Banchero will be in the spotlight for the Magic as a scorer and playmaker and has a chance to win the Rookie of the Year award. Although Suggs and Anthony severely collapsed the previous season, they will be better after another off-season. Moreover, Carter appears to be at least an above-average starting NBA center. However, Bamba coming off the bench could offer some rim protection and outside shooting. Meanwhile, Wagner gives this group lots of promise with his height and broad skill set.

Philadelphia 76ers

Point Guard: James Harden

Shooting Guard: Tyrese Maxey

Small Forward: Tobias Harris

Power Forward: P.J. Tucker

Center: Joel Embiid

Sixth Man: De’Anthony Melton

This starting group could have the most satisfactory overall balance of offensive and defense with the inclusion of Tucker. Meanwhile, Maxey is a dynamic offensive player who has improved from being a below-average three-point shooter to an outstanding one. Moreover, Embiid will again be a top MVP candidate while dominating on both ends. In addition, Harden is still one of the league’s finest playmakers. All in all, this starting five has all the ingredients of a crown team.

Phoenix Suns

Point Guard: Chris Paul

Shooting Guard: Devin Booker

Small Forward: Mikal Bridges

Power Forward: Jae Crowder

Center: Deandre Ayton

Sixth Man: Cam Johnson

Crowder is reportedly available in trade negotiations right now, and Johnson is more than capable of taking control if he gets traded and no power comes in response. Meanwhile, Paul’s shot attempts are declining. However, Booker may be in danger of overtaking him as the league’s leading scorer. Moreover, Ayton has improved defensively, while Bridges is one of the league’s best wing defenders. Nevertheless, this starting five is still deserving of a title.

Portland Trail Blazers

Point Guard: Damian Lillard

Shooting Guard: Anfernee Simons

Small Forward: Josh Hart

Power Forward: Jerami Grant

Center: Jusuf Nurkić

Sixth Man: Nassir Little

Only Lillard and Nurki were in the starting lineup on the opening night of the previous season. Meanwhile, if CJ McCollum and Norman Powell got traded, Lillard would have a chance to win his first career-scoring championship. Moreover, Hart functions well as a versatile forward who can score, rebound, pass, and guard many spots. In addition, Grant will do wonders for the team’s defense.

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