With the 2022-23 NBA season quickly approaching, now’s the time to determine the contenders and pretenders. We already know which teams are expected to perform well. However, we can’t overlook the sleepers who could surprise everyone this season.

I want to share my picks for the most underrated NBA teams in 2022-23. No one is talking about these organizations in terms of potentially winning a championship or reaching the playoffs. Still, I see them as legitimate contenders for the new campaign.

Basketball Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 2021-22 Record: 44-38
  • Head Coach: J. B. Bickerstaff
  • Key Players: Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen

The Cleveland Cavaliers went 44-38 last season without Lebron James on the roster. For a team that has a long history of mediocrity, that’s impressive. The season would come to a disappointing end – Cleveland finished the year 3-7 in the final ten regular season games.

The Cavs have a young roster that’s incredibly good on defense. Starting center Jarrett Allen and power forward Evan Mobley are a dynamic duo defensively for the Cavaliers. Last season, the two gave up under 104 points per 100 possessions.

Things were a little iffy on offense for the Cavaliers, but that’s about to change. The franchise acquired Donovan Mitchell during the offseason without losing any key players from last year. Cleveland’s roster is well-rounded, so I expect a strong run in the upcoming year.

Basketball Portland Trail Blazers

  • 2021-22 Record: 27-55
  • Head Coach: Chauncey Billups
  • Key Players: Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant, Jusuf Nurkic

Last season was a major disappointment for the Blazers. The team severely underperformed, and star player Damian Lillard had one of his worst campaigns. The team also parted ways with several key contributors, including Norman Powell and CJ McCollum.

The Blazers have spent the offseason retooling the roster and acquiring high-level support players for Lillard. They landed Jerami Grant in a trade with the Pistons, which is a huge addition. The veteran small forward averaged 19.2 points in 47 games for Detroit last season.

Gary Payton II also joined the Blazers during the offseason, and he’s arguably one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. The roster still lacks depth, but the Blazers should be much more competitive entering the 2022-23 season.

I expect them to be a playoff team, and most specialists severely underrate them.

Basketball Indiana Pacers

  • 2021-22 Record: 25-57
  • Head Coach: Rick Carlisle
  • Key Players: Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton

Many will consider this pick a huge reach because the Pacers haven’t done enough to enhance the roster. The team also traded Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics during the offseason, who’s a solid player in his own right.

The offense was below average last season, and the team had one of the worst defenses. Optimism in Indiana was pretty low, especially when the team traded its best player – power forward Domantas Sabonis – midseason at the trade deadline.

The good news is that Rick Carlisle is an excellent head coach who knows how to improve a bad team. The Pacers’ front office also seems committed to a complete rebuild, but there’s still a decent amount of talent on the roster.

Point guard Tyrese Haliburton will likely take on a prominent role for Indiana. He’s efficient and knows how to run an offense. The youngster’s unselfish and will tailor his game to accommodate his teammates. This will allow more players to spread their wings and score plenty of points.

Basketball Denver Nuggets

  • 2021-22 Record: 48-34
  • Head Coach: Michael Malone
  • Key Players: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr.

It’s strange to consider the Nuggets an underrated team when the roster includes reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. However, despite having the best player in the NBA last season, the Nuggets barely snuck into the playoffs as a sixth seed.

Injuries hampered the Nuggets severely last season. The team’s best players – point guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr. – both missed a lot of playing time. Jokic had to pick up the slack and do everything for Denver on both ends of the court.

Not only are Porter and Murray returning, but the Nuggets have several good complementary players who’re new to the squad. This includes Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who’s a great shooter and defender. Newly-acquired Bruce Brown should also help open things up on offense.

No one is talking about Denver as a legitimate title contender right now. However, they’re arguably a top-5 team when you consider the depth of talent on the roster. Let’s also not forget that Denver appeared in the Western Conference Finals only two years ago.

Basketball Minnesota Timberwolves

  • 2021-22 Record: 46-36
  • Head Coach: Chris Finch
  • Key Players: Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert

Here’s a legitimate sleeper team out of the Western Conference. The Timberwolves only have two playoff appearances since the 2004-05 season. However, the roster features one of the best scoring trios in the NBA.

Minnesota’s core players – Towns, Edwards, and Russell – are dangerous when they establish chemistry together on the court. Towns looks like one of the best centers in the NBA right now, and Edwards continues to get a lot better every season.

These three players represent Minnesota and have the team trending in the right direction. We had a lot of question marks about the defense, but guess what – Rudy Gobert arrived in the summer!

That’s one of the best defensive bigs in the NBA, and his presence will allow KAT to play harder on the other end of the court.

Basketball Conclusion

Now’s the time to determine which NBA teams are contenders and sleepers entering the new season. Take this opportunity to supply yourself with information and take advantage of any NBA betting markets that offer high odds.

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