2022-23 NBA Regular Season Recap

Chase Carty, Staff Writer

   Every season is unique in its own way. “Unique in its own way” is a statement fueled by statistics, and not said with the same tone you use when telling someone who’s recently been rejected that “everyone is unique in their own way.” 

   Broken records and strange things occur annually. However, it’s not often that the NBA has daily Instagram posts of records that were broken this year, and that the point guard of the second best team in the western conference is wielding firearms in strip clubs and garnering nine people to fight a Finish Line employee. Let’s talk about it.

   In the Lakers’ 55th regular season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron James notoriously scored his 36th point of the game and 38,388th point of his career to break the NBA all-time scoring record. Previous record holder of 38 years and temporary meme Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attended the game and congratulated James with a miserable expression on his face. Whether or not he was actually reluctant to be there is unknown, however, fans who spent college-tuitions-worth of money to witness James break the record probably felt a little worse than Jabbar after the game.

Joel Embiid

   The renowned free throw merchant from Cameroon had another MVP caliber year, as he became the first player in 48 years to average 33+ points and 10+ rebounds per game for an entire season. The big man had 13 games with 40 or more points, and five games with 50 or more, including a career-high 59-point outing against Utah in November. Embiid finished second in MVP voting last season, and is nearing first once again in the most recent update for this year’s MVP race. Will The Process win his first MVP award this June?

James Harden

   Embiid’s backcourt teammate, James Harden, received a ton of backlash for spending egregious amounts of money in various nightclubs after away games, but I, along with many other NBA fans see no problem with these antics as long as he can drop 21 and 11 before them. Harden just became the first player in NBA history to hone three scoring titles and two assist titles. His combination of scoring and playmaking ability work symbiotically to allow him to hit multiple threes & dish out a ton of assists night in and night out, and teams fear The Beard when he has the ball in his hands.

Blocker Kessler

   Although not one of the most glorified rookies, Walker Kessler is a top three player from this year’s class. The 7’1” 21-year-old averaged a solid nine points and eight rebounds on top of being a defensive stalwart for the Utah Jazz, who last summer lost previous defensive anchor and current clown Rudy Gobert in one of the worst trades in NBA history. Kessler’s defense, especially on the interior, was historic, as he had the most blocks (per game and total) by a rookie since 2001, as he blocked 173 shots across 74 games, giving him an average of 2.3 per game which ranks him fourth in the league.

Greek Freak

   On top of being the NBA’s biggest sweetheart, Giannis Antetokounmpo created his own record this regular season. Although it’s kind of a complex stat, it gives a ton of insight on how special of a player he really is. Antetokounmpo is the only player in league history to average 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 5+ assists on 55% or better shooting from the field for an entire season. This doesn’t even include his unmatched versatility and effort on defense, which has contributed wonders to the Bucks having the best record in the league this season. Giannis’ historic performance this season has earned him a chance at winning his third MVP award.

The Joker

   Despite accusations of being a white-privileged stat padder by that goofball Kendrick Perkins on Worst– First Take, Nikola Jokic recorded another historic season in multiple aspects. Instead of writing an entire article in itself about some records he broke this year, I’ll just bullet a list.

  • First player to record a 40-25-10 game in 54 years
  • First player to record a 50 points and 10 assists in a game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975.
  • Second most triple doubles in a season by a center in NBA history
  • Highest assist per game average by a center in NBA history
  • Most career assists by a player in franchise history. 
  • Became sixth player and first center in NBA history to record 100 career triple doubles. 

  The fact that all of these records were broken within the last four months, along with him leading the Denver Nuggets to the best record in the west represent why he should be considered for the MVP this season.

NBA players are good at scoring the basketball.                

   Embiid averaged 33 and Giannis averaged 31, how many players averaged more than 30 points? Six. Six players averaged 30+ this season. This feat hasn’t occurred since your grandfather was wielding a firearm in South Vietnam and Ray Charles released “I Can’t Stop Loving You” in 1962. Damian Lillard, Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum also accomplished the 30+ PPG mark, and players like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry almost did the same, averaging 29. A roster worth of players are revolutionizing the game of basketball with their uncanny scoring ability, yet will be left out of all-NBA teams and regular-season award consideration. 

Some Promising Teams (West) 

   Nuggets: Jumping up five seeds in the standings and adding five wins to their record from last year, the Nuggets rose to the top of the west behind their previously mentioned two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, as he led them to the fifth-best offense in the league.

   Grizzlies: Although Memphis could have taken the west themselves, their starting point guard Ja Morant got himself suspended for eight games due to a plethora of alleged felonies. Morant averaged 26 points and 8 assists per game to carry the offensive load for the Grizzlies, and this season’s block leader Jaren Jackson Jr. led them to having the number two ranked defense in the league.

   Thunder: Oklahoma City, led by 24-year-old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, didn’t have a 50+ win season like the Grizzlies and Nuggets, however, they not only displayed just how bright this team’s future is, but even surpassed existing expectations set for them. They nearly secured a playoff spot before losing to the Timberwolves, but this team wasn’t expected to make the play-in tournament in the first place, let alone win a game in it. The Thunder are the youngest team in the league with an average age of 22.7 years among all of their players, and their brilliance not only on the court but in the front office as well will take this team far in years to come.


   Bucks: The Bucks, despite the absence of their reliable two-way scoring option Khris Middleton, had a 58-24 regular season record and were the frontrunners of the league. Their starting lineup that consists of nearly all lockdown defenders in Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jevon Carter and Brook Lopez earned their team the fourth best defense league wide. As of now, they have the highest odds of winning the 2023 championship, and will take on the Heat in a highly anticipated first round.

   Celtics: Falling just a game behind the Bucks, the Celtics had their best regular season since the 2008-2009 season. The loud and obnoxious city of Boston got to watch their star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combine for 56.7 points per game, which is the most among all duos of teammates across the league. The two had help, as former defensive player of the year Marcus Smart, alongside frontcourt players Robert Williams and Al Horford worked together to provide the league with the second best defensive rating. The Celtics will most likely have to face the Bucks to make it out of the east, and the league is eager to see that matchup.

   Cavaliers: When LeBron James packed his bags for L.A. for its marketability and high-class hair doctors, the Cavaliers fell harder than Post Malone during his concert last September. They missed the playoffs from 2019-2022, even possessing the second worst record in the league the season after James’ departure. However, with the arrival of volume scorers like Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert, and the insightful drafting of Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, the Cavaliers are not only back into the playoff picture, but they’re a fourth-seed team with 51 regular-season wins. Superstar Donovan Mitchell was crucial to their top 10 rated offense in the league, and on the other end of the court he could rely on Isaac Okoro, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, as the Cavaliers had the highest defensive rating in the NBA.

   The 2022-23 season was an anomaly, to say the least. With how many loaded teams there are in this year’s playoff bracket, the postseason should be even more exhilarating.