Chicago- The NBA 2023-2024 gets underway this Tuesday with the crown of Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets at stake and with a list of suitors headed by the new ‘supers’, the Boston Celtics, the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The season begins with a parade of stars ranging from Slovenian Luka Doncic to French prodigy Victor Wembanyama, who was the first overall pick in the last rookie draft.
It was June 12 when the Nuggets They sentenced the Miami Heat and won the first ring in their history, a triumph that was named after the Serbian Nikola Jokic and the Canadian Jamal Murray, visible faces of a franchise that, after leaving far from the favorites, won the title with merit after becoming a real steamroller.
The new campaign will begin with two games this Tuesday, a Nuggets-Lakers, a reissue of last year’s Western Finals, and a Golden State Warriors against the Suns.
If possible, the competitive level increases this year, with rivals in the West such as the Suns of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, the arrival of Bradley Beal and the departure of Chris Paul to the Warriors.
The Suns, whose dream of being crowned is becoming an obsession, also changed their center. Deandre Ayton left and Jusuf Nurkic arrived from Portland, within the scope of an operation that dynamited the balance of the NBA.
The Blazers received Ayton in a three-franchise deal that brought Damian Lillard to the Bucks. A new chapter for ‘Dame’, who will form a stellar duo in Milwaukee with the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks sacrificed Jrue Holiday, a rival they will meet in the same Eastern conference, after he ended up in the Celtics’ superproject.
Everything is at stake for everyone in Boston, who lost the Finals in 2022 and ended up one game away from repeating last season, losing in the seventh game of the series against the Miami Heat.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were joined by Holiday and the Latvian Kristaps Porzingis. The price? A notable reduction in the bench, with losses such as Malcolm Brogdon, in addition to the starter Marcus Smart, ending up in the Memphis Grizzlies.
Not much changed for the Miami Heat, who surprised everyone last year by reaching the Finals. In the team led by Erik Spoelstra there will be Mexican representation with Jaime Jaquez Jr. in a locker room led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
The Philadelphia 76ers of Most Valuable Player, Joel Embiid, also start with maximum ambitions, but with problems at home due to the uncertainty about the future of James Harden, who very clearly expressed his desire to leave, but who remains part of the group.
In the West, the Suns emerge as the main threat for the Nuggets, in addition to franchises always to be taken into account such as the Warriors, champions in 2022, who added Chris Paul and the Spanish Usman Garuba to a squad guided by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Jordan Poole left for Washington.
They want to get out of the performance shown in the second part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ last campaign, in LeBron James’ twenty-first season in the NBA. The group is intact, with Anthony Davis as a great partner of star James.
More difficult to decipher are the ambitions of the Los Angeles Clippers, who with the permission of injuries have a highly competitive squad, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Of course, in recent years the Clippers have lost their stars at key moments in their seasons.
New threats come from Texas, where Luka Doncic starts the year wanting revenge after experiencing the worst season of his career in Dallas, being left out of the postseason.
Jason Kidd has the challenge of finding a way to fully express the potential of the Doncic-Kyrie Irving duo and, at the same time, find defensive intensity, the enormous limit seen last year.
It will also be the first year of the prodigy Wembanyama with the Spurs, who at 19 years old caused an expectation in the NBA that had not been experienced for 20 years, with LeBron as the protagonist.