With the new season of the NBA just around the corner, we have some really important tips on whom to follow and what to expect in the coming week of the championship. Though there is plenty of news to catch, we have picked the five most important events to watch for.
The NBA preseason provided us with just enough to whet our appetite over the past two weeks. It was an appetizer before we delved into the 82-course banquet that is the NBA regular season. We got our first looks at some of the league’s new-look rosters, witnessed some star players return from injuries, and received our first impressions of this year’s rookie class. Of course, we also received tons of highlights, with Ja Morant serving as our unfailing source.
Both teams went undefeated in the preseason, going 4-0, with the Kings outscoring opponents by an astounding 27.5 points per game in Sacramento. The Sixers and Kings will hope that their success carries over to the regular season. On the other hand, the Lakers only went 1-5 and the Bucks were winless in five preseason games.
The Big Opening
The real season starts on Tuesday with a TNT doubleheader, as entertaining as Summer League and preseason were in providing us a taste of what’s to come. Boston and Golden State, the two teams that squared off in last year’s Finals, will host their respective home openers versus Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
The Boston Celtics will dedicate a new court in Bill Russell’s honor, adding his No. 6 to the parquet paint. As soon as the play begins, interim Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla will make his appearance, taking over for the suspended Ime Udoka and attempting to guide Boston to yet another deep playoff run.
Before the season opener against the Lakers, the Warriors will unveil their championship banner and receive their 2022 championship rings in San Francisco. In the season opener, LeBron James will also start his quest to break Kareem Abdul-scoring Jabbar’s record, a feat the superstar might accomplish in just 50 games.
Debuts and Returns
The Long-awaited returns
You could field an All-Star team with the number of players that missed either the majority or the entirety of last season altogether.
- Kawhi Leonard last played on June 14, 2021 (18 months)
- Ben Simmons last played on June 20, 2021 (18 months)
- Zion Williamson last played on May 4, 2021 (19 months)
- Jamal Murray last played on April 12, 2021 (20 months)
- John Wall last played on April 23, 2021 (20 months)
- Damian Lillard last played on Dec. 31, 2021 (10 months)
Debuts for the new teams
The “Same face in new places” group is important to remember because three All-Stars switched teams this summer. The Jazz decided to trade both Rudy Gobert (to Minnesota) and Donovan Mitchell as part of their rebuilding effort (to Cleveland). Dejounte Murray from San Antonio joined the Hawks in Atlanta, pairing with Trae Young in the backcourt.
The Big Matchups
New York at Memphis, 7:30 p.m. ET (Wednesday)
Dallas at Phoenix, 10 p.m. ET (Wednesday)
Milwaukee at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)
Los Angeles Lakers at LA Clippers, 10 p.m. ET (Thursday)
Boston at Miami, 7:30 p.m. ET (Friday)
Denver at Golden State, 10 p.m. ET (Friday)
League Pass Games to Watch
Orlando at Detroit, 7 p.m. ET
New Orleans at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m. ET
Cleveland at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET
Jazz at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. ET
LA Clippers at Sacramento, 10 p.m. ET