How to watch and everything you need to know about the 2023-24 NBA season

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2023-24 NBA Season: Your Comprehensive Guide to Watching and Understanding the Action on the Court

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is back with a bang following a thrilling offseason. With blockbuster trades and the arrival of a generational talent, the 2023-24 season promises excitement. Add to that the introduction of a new mid-season tournament and numerous teams harboring title aspirations, and you’ve got an action-packed season ahead. Here’s everything you need to know before the season tip-off.

How to Watch

The 78th NBA regular season kicks off on Tuesday, October 24, running through Sunday, April 14, 2024. The Play-In tournament, determining the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference, takes place from Tuesday, April 16 to Friday, April 19, next year. The playoffs officially begin on Saturday, April 20, with Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals scheduled for Thursday, June 6. The inaugural In-Season tournament will be held from Friday, November 3, to Saturday, December 9, with the final set in Las Vegas. You can catch the games on TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV, and ESPN Radio in the US, while NBA TV and NBA League Pass will broadcast games internationally.

Two-Horse Race?

The biggest NBA offseason buzz revolved around Damian Lillard’s jersey color for this season. After an 11-year stint with the Portland Trail Blazers, the 33-year-old requested a trade in the summer, signaling his desire for a new challenge outside of Oregon. Despite rumors linking him to the Miami Heat, Lillard was surprisingly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, altering the league’s power dynamic.

Teaming up with two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lillard forms a potent offensive duo, elevating the Bucks from title contenders to favorites. This trade also rejuvenates the Bucks following their disappointing early exit from the playoffs last season. While the team lost Jrue Holiday in the three-team deal (Holiday eventually landed with the Boston Celtics), the Lillard-Antetokounmpo partnership poses a formidable challenge to opposing defenses.

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Prior to the season, the dynamic duo displayed optimism about their future together on the court. Following their first preseason game with the Milwaukee Bucks, both players expressed their excitement.

“The ‘Greek Freak’ commented, ‘I’ve never been this open. And first of all, I’ve never seen anybody being double-teamed from the first possession of the game,’ after Milwaukee’s preseason victory over the Los Angeles Lakers,” according to ESPN.

Lillard shared similar sentiments, stating, “Having another dominant player on the court can change the game and secure a win. The first few plays, they double-teamed me and trapped me, and I found Giannis as my outlet. So I thought, ‘We can do this all night.’ You know what I mean?” (ESPN).

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The Boston Celtics, potentially the Milwaukee Bucks’ primary Eastern Conference rival, seek redemption after a disappointing playoff loss to the Miami Heat. Guided by the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics nurture championship aspirations. After several near misses, this season offers their best chance to clinch their first NBA title since 2008, especially with the addition of key players like Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porziņģis.

While second-year head coach Joe Mazzulla still hones his decision-making skills in critical moments, the Celtics boast a talent-rich roster, setting the stage for a compelling championship push in Boston. The impending showdown between the Celtics and the Bucks in the Eastern Conference is highly anticipated, with both teams brimming with star power, making them the prime contenders for an NBA Finals berth.

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In the highly competitive Eastern Conference, the reigning MVP Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers aim to challenge, but the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics appear formidable contenders.

In contrast, the Western Conference paints a different picture. The Denver Nuggets, led by the two-time MVP Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray, seek to defend their championship. Nevertheless, losses such as Bruce Brown and Jeff Green have raised concerns about the team’s depth.

Denver’s formidable duo, Jokić and Murray, is renowned for their lethal offense, although Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard might have something to say this year.

Beyond the Nuggets, the Western Conference features a loaded field of ambitious teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, and Dallas Mavericks.

The Suns, bolstered by the addition of Bradley Beal to their star-studded roster, appear poised to challenge the Nuggets for the title. With a full offseason to develop chemistry, the Suns, under new head coach Frank Vogel, aim to compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

While Western contenders have star power, they also face uncertainties. The Grizzlies will miss star point guard Ja Morant due to suspension. Injuries have plagued the Clippers, Pelicans, and Zion Williamson, while the Kings hope for continued success with few roster changes.

The Warriors, Lakers, Timberwolves, and Mavericks all have high hopes but must address lingering issues before the season tips off. The abundance of star talent in the conference sets the stage for every game to carry significant playoff implications.

Additionally, the upcoming season generates excitement due to the influx of rookies. Victor Wembanyama, a highly regarded French prospect, has created a buzz. The San Antonio Spurs secured the opportunity to draft him, igniting interest in the team’s games under the guidance of legendary coach Gregg Popovich.

Wembanyama’s potential generational talent has sparked anticipation not seen since LeBron James entered the league in 2003, making Spurs’ TV games a more enticing watch.

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The race for the NBA Rookie of the Year award has taken an intriguing turn in the 2023-24 season. Many enthusiasts are already considering Victor Wembanyama as a top contender, thanks to his exceptional preseason performances. However, there’s stiff competition coming from the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chet Holmgren.

Holmgren, selected by the Thunder in the previous year’s draft, missed his entire would-be rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury in his right foot before the 2022 training camp began. Despite this setback, the 7-foot-1-inch center now qualifies for the Rookie of the Year award. His preseason and Summer League performances have shown he’s a force to be reckoned with after a year of recovery.

Their rivalry became apparent during a preseason face-off. Holmgren tallied 21 points and nine rebounds, while Wembanyama scored 20 points as the Thunder defeated the Spurs. The two big men often battled directly against each other. A memorable moment occurred when Wembanyama powered through Holmgren for a basket and a foul, flexing his muscles and making contact with Holmgren’s head. Holmgren humorously tweeted, “The headbutt is an unstoppable move fasho.”

With both players occupying similar positions, this rivalry promises to captivate fans as they carve their paths in the NBA.

Apart from Wembanyama and Holmgren, several other rookies demand attention. Notably, Scoot Henderson attempts to fill the void left by Damian Lillard with the Trail Blazers. The Thompson twins, Amen and Ausar, were drafted by the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, respectively.

Format Change:

The 2023-24 season introduces the In-Season Tournament, a new annual competition for all 30 NBA teams. This tournament runs from November 3 to December 9, with the aim of providing additional opportunities for players and teams to compete and engage fans in a unique way. All 30 teams are divided into five-team groups based on their previous season’s record. These groups will compete on designated ‘tournament nights,’ occurring every Tuesday and Friday, from November 3 to 28, excluding the US national Election Day on November 7.

During ‘tournament nights,’ only In-Season Tournament group games will be played. Eight teams will advance from the group stage to the knockout rounds, featuring single-elimination games in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship.

Teams vie for a prize pool and the newly introduced In-Season Tournament trophy, the NBA Cup. Awards, including MVP and an All-Tournament team, will honor outstanding performances. Importantly, every game in the tournament, except the final, will count toward the regular-season standings. This change promises to bring a new dimension to the early portion of the regular season, engaging fans and players alike.

Reference:

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/10/24/sport/2023-nba-season-preview-how-to-watch-spt-intl/index.html

https://www.billboard.com/culture/product-recommendations/nba-2023-schedule-how-to-watch-without-cable-1235158064/

https://headtopics.com/us/how-to-watch-and-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-47552583

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