The new NBA season starts in the early hours of Wednesday morning (25th October 00:30) and with that in mind we’ve taken a look at all the latest movers and shakers, analysed the odds for the likely winners and given you our best bets for the season ahead.
Our two NBA staffers Adam Roberts and Jonny Webb have been tasked with giving us their thoughts ahead of Tuesday night.
When does the new NBA season 2024 start?
The first game of the new 2023/24 season takes place on Wednesday 25th October, where the defending champions the Denver Nuggets host the Los Angeles Lakers at the Ball Arena.
When do the NBA playoffs 2024 start?
The first round of the NBA playoffs takes place on the 20th April, with game 1 of the NBA Finals starting on June 6th.
Who are the favourites to the win the NBA Finals 2024?
Despite winning the title in 2023, the Denver Nuggets are only the second favourites with Betfred, at 5/1 to go back-to-back.
The joint-favourites to win the title are the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks, who can be backed at 4/1 to win the championship.
The only other franchise in single digits are the Phoenix Suns at 7/1, with the megastars of the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors out at 12/1 to win the title.
Who were the top draft recruits this NBA season?
San Antonio Spurs
Portland Trail Blazers
Indiana Pacers (traded to Washington)
Washington Wizards (traded to Indiana)
Dallas Mavericks (traded to Oklahoma City)
Victor Wembanyama is the most-hyped #1 draft since LeBron James and is considered a generational talent.
Who will win the NBA Championship this year?
Adam – THE big move of the summer was the mega-trade by the Milwaukee Bucks to bring in point guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trailblazers.
The seven-time all-star was unplayable at times in Portland but never managed to drag his side to the latter stages of the NBA finals and is seeking a chip.
What better place to do that than in Milwaukee, where he will join the two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in trying to win another title, after their victory in 2021.
Early signs in pre-season have shown that these two look to have already formed a dynamic partnership and I think Dame and the Greek Freak can lead the Bucks all the way to the title.
Jonny – As a fan of the Golden State Warriors, I’m inclined to think (or foolishly believe) that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have one final run in them to the title, especially with the addition of veteran guard Chris Paul.
However, this year is the most open in a while, in my opinion. In the West, as mentioned, I think the Warriors have an outside chance, and you can’t write off the defending champions as they have arguably the best player in basketball in Nikola Jokic. Phoenix have formed a new ‘big three’ by trading for Bradley Beal in the offseason and partnering him up with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker and I’m interested to see how they get on this season.
In the East, Boston have made the NBA finals and conference finals in the past two seasons, and now they’ve added Kristaps Porzingis to the rotation, I’m expecting them to go deep into the playoffs once again this year. Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the best one-two punch in the NBA after the former’s trade from Portland to Milwaukee, and I’d be very surprised if one of those teams don’t win the Eastern conference finals.
Miami made the NBA finals last season but I can’t see them being championship contenders this term.
All in all, I think the Bucks look the biggest threat to Denver’s crown on paper at least, but I think Boston could finally get over the line this year.
Who will win the Regular Season MVP award this year?
Adam – Doubling down on my previous selection of the Bucks to win the title, I think the pairing of Lillard and Giannis will be the big talking point this season and it will drive the power forward on to new heights (if thats possible?). Antetokounmpo is unplayable when at his best and when he’s being fed by Dame for alley-oop opportunites and fast breaks, his scoring will go through the roof.
Jonny – Nikola Jokic is the favourite at 9/2, followed by Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo at 11/2. If my prediction of Boston winning it all comes to fruition, then Jayson Tatum could be the punt here for MVP, at 15/2.
I think the best sleeper pick at 33/1 is Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. With LeBron James increasingly taking a back seat in California, AD will be the main man for the Purple and Gold this year. When Davis is healthy, nobody in the league is more dominant from end-to-end – he’s an unbelievably skilled defender and shot blocker, he rebounds everything that’s near him, and he can shoot from all three levels.
What is your best ante-post bet of the season for NBA?
Adam – Ok, I’m gonna get pure pelters for this one but just hear me out on why I think the Houston Rockets can win the Southwest Division. Yes, I support the Rockets and yes they’ve been absolutely trash ever since James Harden upped and left for riches elsewhere (which were never won!) but I have legitimate reasons for thinking this could be the bet of the season.
Houston have finally got rid of the nice bloke but terrible coach Stephen Silas. In has come new head coach and former Celtics boss Ime Udoka, who took the side to the NBA finals in 2021.
Also the side has completely changed and after two horrible years of tanking, they look ready to start winning. The taltented trio of Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr and Alperen Sengun have been joined by hot draft picks Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore. They’ve also added decent veterans in Fred van Vleet, Victor Oladipo and Jeff Green.
I think this will be the season where the Rockets finally go into positive territory and its just a question if they can get past Memphis to win the division.
Jonny – I’ve touched on Boston and Milwaukee going deep into the playoffs, but I think the ante-post bet that I’m going to tip up is Miami to win the Eastern Conference at 10/1.
Although, I think they will ultimately fall short in their bid for the title, it seems foolish to write off Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra completely. The Heat only managed 44 wins last year and they qualified for the playoffs through the play-in tournament, so I’m expecting a much-improved regular-season showing.
Jimmy Butler is coming off a remarkable season, as he averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game in 33.4 minutes per game. The 34-year-old also shot a career-high 53.9% from the floor, and he took things to a whole other level in the playoffs.
The presence of Butler and Bam Adebayo also makes it easy to buy into Miami being top 10 in defensive rating again in 2023-24 – the Heat were ninth in that category in the regular season last year.