Now less than two weeks away from the start of the 2023-24 NBA season, anticipation is sky-high as the NBA gears up for what’s sure to be a thrilling 82 games — not to mention the playoffs that will follow. In preparation for the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season, let’s discuss what to know before the season begins. In this article, we’ll discuss key dates for this upcoming season, along with the five most important storylines that you’ll want to follow as the year unfolds.
Key Dates for the 2023-24 NBA Season
There are a few key dates to keep in mind as the 82-game regular season approaches:
October 5: NBA Preseason Games Begin
October 20: NBA Preseason Ends
October 24: Start of the 2023-24 NBA Regular Season
December 25: NBA on Christmas Day (many of the league’s best teams play this day, making it must-watch TV)
February 8: NBA Trade Deadline
February 16-21: NBA All-Star Break
February 18: NBA All-Star Game 2024
April 14: NBA Regular Season Ends
April 20: NBA Playoffs 2024 Begin
June 6: NBA Finals Game 1
June 23: NBA Finals Game 7 (if necessary)
June 27: NBA Draft 2024
Five Storylines to Follow Throughout the 2023-24 NBA Season
Now knowing those key dates, let’s discuss five of the top storylines to follow while the 2023-24 season is underway.
1. Massive Expectations for One Rookie
The 2023 NBA Draft was one of the most talent-packed drafts in recent memory. However, one player from the draft has more hype — and pressure — than the rest of the rookies combined. Of course, I’m talking about Victor Wembanyama, a 7 foot 4 French phenom who has grabbed the attention of basketball enthusiasts worldwide. With his freakish body profile and remarkable on-court skills, the NBA hasn’t seen a rookie — selected as the first overall pick of the draft by the San Antonio Spurs — receive this much buzz since LeBron James.
And while the hype is justified, one would be wise to temper expectations for Wembanyama in his first season. His tall frame is extremely skinny, compared to the NBA centers he’ll be facing — which means that he might get pushed around some in the early going. Not to mention that the Spurs have little noteworthy talent around him, so opposing defenses can focus their attention solely on Wembanyama. Plus, he will have to get used to the wear-and-tear of an 82-game NBA regular season. For all of these factors, it might be tough for Victor Wembanyama to match the hype he has received to this point. Yet, he might also be a superstar right out of the gate. This exciting uncertainty is why basketball fans worldwide must keep an eye on Wembanyama’s progress throughout this 2023-24 NBA season.
2. New Faces in New Places
The NBA off-season produced multiple blockbuster trades, which have shifted the league’s landscape heading into this season. Bradley Beal, known for his scoring prowess, joined the star-studded Phoenix Suns — a team that is already led by All-NBA talents Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. Beal’s arrival raises questions about how he will fit into a team with two established stars. While Beal’s scoring ability is unquestionable, he may need to adjust his playing style and find alternative ways to contribute to the Suns’ success.
Chris Paul, a seasoned veteran, is embarking on a new chapter in his career by joining the Golden State Warriors. Playing alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, Paul adds another layer to the Warriors’ balanced attack. However, the specifics of how Paul will fit into the team remain uncertain. The dynamic between him and Curry — both experienced point guards — will be a fascinating experiment to watch unfold.
Finally, former Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, and will now join forces with Giannis Antetokounmpo. It will be thrilling to see those two greats team up — and them doing so solidifies the Bucks as a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Yet, it might take some time for Lillard to acclimate to a new team, since he spent his entire career with Portland to this point. Will he be okay with taking less shots per game? One would imagine Lillard is willing to if it means a chance at an NBA championship.
3. What Will Happen With James Harden?
The off-season has also been filled with drama, as disgruntled players demanded trades from their current teams; most notably, James Harden.
Harden, a superstar Shooting Guard and 2018 NBA MVP, is currently on the Philadelphia 76ers roster. After his departure from the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets, contract disputes have strained his relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers. As of now, neither Harden has not been traded despite requesting multiple times to, and Philadelphia doesn’t seem too intent on letting him leave so easily. This story is still very much developing — and while Harden will most likely be playing for another team by season’s end, he’s still currently a Philadelphia 76er; meaning, there is more drama to be had ahead for us fans.
4. Can Denver Repeat?
The Denver Nuggets celebrated their first ever NBA championship victory in the previous season, defeating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Led by former MVP Nikola Jokic and crafty guard Jamal Murray, the Nuggets showcased their winning formula that will set them up for success this season, too. However, the off-season saw the departure of key contributors Bruce Brown and Jeff Green, creating challenges for the reigning champions. As they transition from being the hunters to the hunted, the Nuggets will face tough competition from other top contenders in the Western Conference.
While experience often plays a crucial role in reaching the Finals, no team has achieved consecutive appearances since the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. The Nuggets have the potential to continue their regular-season dominance, but they will face fierce competition throughout the playoffs. Their quest to defend their title promises excitement and high-stakes basketball — which all fans will want to tune in to.
5. Season #21 for Lebron James
Yes, you read that right. The 2023-24 NBA season is the 21st of LeBron James’ storied career. The NBA’s all-time scoring leader and four-time NBA champion is returning with the Los Angeles Lakers. While James will turn 39 in December, he is still considered one of the league’s very best players. And with talented stars like Anthony Davis on the Lakers alongside him, LeBron has a good chance to win NBA Championship #5 this season.
Yet, father time is undefeated. And it only seems like a matter of time before father time catches up to James. While he has remained relatively healthy throughout his career, one wonders whether he’ll be able to make it through another 82-game season and the playoffs while maintaining elite enough form to keep the Lakers in contention. Either way, one wonders what the future will hold for LeBron James. Does he have one more championship run in him? Only time will tell. Which is why we must all keep watch on the GOAT before he calls it a career.
The storylines highlighted in this article are just a glimpse into the excitement that awaits fans for this 2023-24 NBA season. From rookie debuts, to new teams for established superstars, to the pursuit of back-to-back championships, the 2023-24 NBA season promises to deliver unforgettable moments and intense competition. Buckle up and get ready for an incredible season of basketball action.
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