Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Denver Nuggets will reportedly take on the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night on Oct. 24, while No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama will make his debut for the San Antonio Spurs versus the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 25. The full schedule won't be officially released until next week..
One full set of games we do have, however, is the preseason schedule. Teams have been periodically announcing their tune-up games in recent days and weeks, and it's worth taking a closer look. The results from those contests don't matter, of course, but it's still fun to finally have teams back on the court, especially the squads that made big changes in the summer.
Ahead of the preseason action, which will run from Oct. 5-20, here's a look at five key games to circle on your calendar.
Oct. 5 and 7: Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
We'll just go ahead and lump both of these games together since this is the official start of the preseason, and these teams will be playing each other twice in the span of three days. Of course, there's also the fact that the games will be taking place in Abu Dhabi. This is the second consecutive year that the league will make a trip to the Middle East to continue its Global Games series.
On the court, this will not only be our first chance to see any teams back in action, but a chance to watch two of the game's brightest stars: Luka Doncic and Anthony Edwards. Both will have plenty to prove after disappointing seasons for their respective clubs and have the ability to put on a show, even while playing at a preseason pace.
Oct. 7: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Jordan Poole for Chris Paul. The veteran point guard is most comfortable with the ball in his hands and likes to play a slow, walk-it-up style where he controls the action out of the pick-and-roll, which doesn't mesh with the Warriors' style of quick cutting and ball movement. Plus, he would prefer to remain a starter, but he would not be optimized playing alongside Steph Curry. How will Paul and the Warriors handle this situation? We'll find out against the Lakers.than the Warriors trading
As for LeBron James and Co., they're fresh off a surprise Western Conference finals run from the No. 7 seed, and brought back most of last season's roster. There's not a whole lot to learn here, but it's never a bad time watching James and Anthony Davis.
Oct. 8: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
The Celtics made a big swing in the offseason by trading franchise stalwart Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal that brought back Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards. This will be our first chance to see how they fare with this new group, and start to answer some big questions about how much they'll miss Smart and .
As for the Sixers, who knows? Will they be figuring out their post-James Harden future? Or will Harden still begrudgingly be there? Either way, it's going to be extremely interesting to watch their first game.
Oct. 9: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
The draw here is obvious: the first semi-official action for both 2023 No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama and 2022 No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren. We've seen both take the floor during Summer League, but those are glorified pickup games, whereas this will be a chance to see them in an actual NBA environment.
Wembanyama is one of the best, and most unique, prospects to enter the league in a long time, and. Matching them up right away was a brilliant decision by whoever was in charge of putting the preseason schedule together.
Oct. 12: Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers
Early in the offseason, the Suns made another big swing by acquiring Bradley Beal in a blockbuster deal that sent Chris Paul to the Wizards. When they travel up to Portland it will be our first chance to see the new big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Beal in action, and get a sense of how that trio might work together.
This won't be the first preseason game for the Blazers, but it will still be fun to see No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson in action against an actual NBA team. (Their first preseason matchup is against the New Zealand Breakers.) Plus, the Blazers will either be integrating new pieces from a Damian Lillard trade or figuring out how Henderson and Lillard will work together.