By Max Brucks
They’re playing basketball, we love that basketball. The NBA season tips off Tuesday, Oct. 24 and it should be a fantastic 82-game season. From Denver looking to repeat as NBA champions to possibly the best prospect to play in the NBA since LeBron James. The West may be as competitive as it has ever been while the East is dominated by top dogs. Young teams trying to assert their spot in the Association while teams who haven’t made the playoffs in a while will look to make their long-awaited appearance. This season may be one of the best in recent memory and I can’t wait for it to tip off.
Western Conference Preview
We will start in the Western Conference where the reigning NBA champions will start their journey to repeat. The Denver Nuggets are still the team to beat out in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and star guard Jamal Murray. The Nuggets also have a solid supporting cast with Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell Pope. The Nuggets have been a consistently dominating team during the regular season and look to continue that success in the coming season.
The team that will be looking to dethrone the Nuggets will be the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have arguably the greatest player to step foot on a basketball court in LeBron James. He will be leading a very deep team with lots of talent throughout the roster. If the Lakers stay healthy, they could make a serious case to be the best in the West.
After those two teams, the West becomes a bloodbath with quality teams fighting for playoff spots. Multiple teams will be looking for playoff spots from teams who are looking to make a name for themselves and teams looking to keep the championship window open for a couple more years. The Oklahoma City Thunder are among one of the teams looking to earn the respect of the league. The Thunder come into this year with All-NBA guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the team followed by Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren. The Thunder should be a fun team to watch as the season goes on. The other teams looking to make the playoffs will consist of teams with championship aspirations. The Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers are all looking to make that championship run this year. There is not a whole lot of space in the playoffs for every team in the West to make the playoffs so it should be a fun season for over half of the conference.
When it comes to the bottom of the conference some teams have a brighter outlook than others. The San Antonio Spurs, who had the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, look to improve on the rough 2022-23 season. Speaking of the number one overall pick, Victor Wembenyama will look to lead the Spurs in almost every category due to the specimen that he is.
The Portland Trailblazers and Utah Jazz are heading into the new season hoping to see development from some of their players especially the Blazers since they traded away one of the best players in franchise history Damian Lillard.
The West may be the most competitive it has ever been which should make for a fun season. Almost every team in the conference can make the playoffs and a lot of those teams have a lot of talent on the roster. Whoever wins the Western Conference will be battle-tested.
Eastern Conference Preview
The Eastern Conference is a little bit different from the Western Conference in the sense the East may have three or four dominant teams at the top of the conference and the rest may be in a completely different tier. We start with the team that made the finals last year out of the East and that was the Miami Heat. The Heat returned most of their team that made the run to the Finals last year. The only problem is that that Heat team barely made the playoffs, so we shall see how running the same roster back will fare for the Heat.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics will be the two perennial powers that dominate the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia 76ers being close behind the other two. The Bucks tout one of the best duos in the NBA with Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetkounmpo. These two will terrorize defenses all year long and mixed with Khris Middleton and Brook Lopex the Bucks will be scary. The Celtics also have a dynamic duo of their own with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Those two alone are possibly the best wing combo in all of basketball and coupled with the addition of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis the Celtics will be dangerous. The Sixers will come into the NBA season with the reigning NBA MVP and he will be looking to get his first championship. Joel Embiid will be the best player for the Sixers and he should be able to get them into the playoffs once again.
After those teams, it will be a battle between the Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks to settle who will be the middle-of-the-pack teams in the East while the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Atlanta Hawks will be looking to make the play-in tournament at the end of the year. The back half of the Eastern Conference will be one of the more fun storylines of the season. The Hawks backcourt duo will be electric every game of the year. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray are some of the better guards in the NBA. The Magic look to make their long-awaited postseason reappearance and have the young talent to do so. The Pacers, just like the Hawks, possess a serious backcourt tandem with Tyrese Haliburton leading the way.
The bottom section of the East is just looking to rebuild and find a way to win the draft lottery. The Washington Wizards do have some quality talent with Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma but will struggle defensively. The Charlotte Hornets are a complete mess as a franchise and it will be fun to see how this year goes for that franchise.
The East may not be as fun from a standings perspective, but there are a lot of fun teams sitting in this conference. The top three will handily secure those spots, but the remaining teams in the playoff hunt will be in an all-year battle.