The 2022-23 NBA season has been one of the most entertaining to watch in recent memory. Plenty of unexpected things have happened, and we’re starting to see the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. Here are a couple of things that have stood out to me so far this year.

A greater sense of parity

I’ve felt that the play-ins have been an excellent addition to the NBA, if only for the fact that it makes additional compete instead of obviously tanking. This year, though, it feels like the play-ins along with a generally more competitive league has made things really exciting even for casual fans. At the moment, the Western Conference is a revolving door when it comes to playoff positioning. On any given day, multiple teams can fall and rise multiple spots in the standings.

As of right now, there is only a five-game difference between 10th and 1st place in the west. Here’s how the standings look right now:

  • Denver Nuggets (20-11)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (20-11)
  • New Orleans Pelicans (20-12)
  • Phoenix Suns (19-14)
  • LA Clippers (19-15)
  • Sacramento Kings (17-14)
  • Utah Jazz (19-16)
  • Dallas Mavericks (17-16)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (17-16)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (16-17)

The Eastern Conference may have more distance in the top spots, but it’s worth noting that there’s still only six games between fourth and 10th place.

  • Boston Celtics (23-10)
  • Milwaukee Bucks (22-10)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (22-12)
  • Brooklyn Nets (21-12)
  • Philadelphia 76ers (19-12)
  • New York Knicks (18-15)
  • Atlanta Hawks (17-16)
  • Indian Pacers (17-16)
  • Miami Heat (16-17)
  • Toronto Raptors (15-18)

A competitive league is a fun league, and it’s just been amazing to watch so many teams show up and play well this season. There’s also a great mix of your regular contenders, plus new and exciting young squads like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings to watch. It honestly feels like any top 10 team in either conference can beat anyone on a good day, and that’s a rare thing to say.


The continued rise of the NBA’s next crop of young stars

There are those who say that the NBA’s been a little bit boring in recent years, especially with how LeBron James and Steph Curry have made the NBA Finals so many times since the 2010-2011 season. However, I believe this year is the beginning of the passing of the torch, as the next generation of NBA superstars have started to make the leap.

There are so many talented players ready to battle each other, and that’s a great thing. Here’s my list (in no particular order) of the best young stars aged 26 or younger.

  • Luka Doncic (23)
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24)
  • Jayson Tatum (24)
  • Donovan Mitchell (26)
  • Trae Young (24)
  • Ja Morant (23)
  • Zion Williamson (22)
  • Jaylen Brown (26)
  • De’Aaron Fox (25)
  • Anthony Edwards (21)
  • Tyrese Haliburton (22)
  • Domantas Sabonis (26)
  • Jordan Poole (23)
  • Jamal Murray (25)

That doesn’t even take into account established stars that are just a little bit older, like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid, who are all 28 or younger. The NBA is in great hands moving into the future, and it’s going to be fun to see who among them will rise and claim the title of the league’s best player. 

The mix of competitive parity and the rise of young stars is enough to make me thankful, and I’m looking forward to what happens for the rest of this season and beyond.