Lakers-Nuggets and Warriors-Suns to headline opening night for 2023-24 NBA season

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2023 postseason came to an end at the hands of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets swept the Lakers in four games in the Western Conference Finals and then went on to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals to win the 2023 NBA title.

But the Lakers will have a chance to avenge their postseason loss against the Nuggets by spoiling their ring ceremony. The Lakers will open their 2023-24 regular season against the Nuggets in Denver on Oct. 24. The Golden State Warriors will also be on the NBA’s opening night slate with a matchup against the new-look Phoenix Suns.

Early on in the 2022-23 regular season, a Western Conference Finals appearance for the Lakers seemed out of the question. After all, the Lakers started the regular season 2-10 and looked destined to miss out on the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

But the Lakers made a few shrewd trades midway through the 2022-23 regular season that saved their season. First, back in January, the Lakers dealt Kendrick Nunn and three-second round picks to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Rui Hachiumra. Then in February, they traded point guard Russell Westbrook and a 2027 first-round pick to the Utah Jazz in a three-team deal and received D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in return.

The Lakers were one of the best teams in the league during the final stretch of the 2022-23 regular season. They finished the regular season with an 18-9 record after the trade deadline, and the players they acquired prior to the deadline played an important role in their fantastic finish to the regular season.

Russell scored 17.4 points per game across 17 regular-season appearances with the storied franchise, while Hachimura averaged 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the Lakers during the regular season.

The Lakers have the potential to build on their success during the tail end of the 2022-23 regular season in the 2023-24 regular season. A road win against the defending champions on Oct. 24 would be a step in the right direction toward a successful 2023-24 regular season.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.