134 days since the Denver Nuggets claimed the NBA title, the greatest players are back for a new season.
As the celebrations commenced on the court, those in the know suggested that the Nugget’s dominance was here to stay for the years to come.
Enter Victor Wembanyama, along with a group of incredible “generational talent” who have lived up to their expectations and beyond. Not only that but with some stars of the old showing in pre-season, it will not be that easy for the Nuggets to claim a second title in two seasons.
As the NBA enters the new season, we have looked at some of the star players and teams who will be out to stop the Nuggets’ dominance and be battling it out until the end to take home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
Victor Wembanyama – San Antonio Spurs
Height: 7ft 3in
Number one overall pick in this season’s draft
In clips that have appeared across social media, this 19-year-old Frenchman is one of the most exciting yet terrifying prospects to enter the NBA in its 78-year history.
He has been seen doing everything, making plays, no-look passes, an elite shot blocker, and has the ball handling skills and speed usually prominent in point guards.
Speaking to BBC Sport, NBA analyst and host of the Hoop Genius podcast Mo Mooncey discussed the teenager and what he had seen in his performances:
“If you’re an opposing player in the NBA, there’s nothing scarier than Wembanyama
“We’ve never seen a player at his height have such agility. You saw him in pre-season, the way he’s making plays, throwing no-look passes – he’s doing everything.
“I don’t expect the Spurs to have a huge season, but I expect this year to be great for his development.
“If pre-season was any indication of what he’s going to be like at 19 years old, the entire NBA needs to be worried.
“And you better win your championships now because when he gets to his prime, it’s over.”
Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City Thunder
Height: 7ft 1in
Before Wenmbanyama, Chet Holmgren was the most exciting prospect to grace the NBA scene.
The second overall pick in the 2021 draft had to watch on from the sidelines last time out after suffering a season-ending foot injury, but could this work to his advantage?
Former NBA champion and now ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson thinks so.
“I think there’s always a little bit of an advantage for a player that misses their rookie season,” Jefferson told BBC Sport.
“It gives a player a full year to work out with their team, a full year to learn the system, as well as their training and eating properly.”
Moving on to…
LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers
Height: 6ft 9in
This man needs no introduction – we have a fun fact instead.
Did you know? LeBron James played his first game in the NBA before Victor Wembanyama was even born
Now aged 38, he is entering his 21st season in the league, where he remains the all-time record points scorer.
Mooncey, too, spoke about the Los Angeles based side’s hopes this season and is confident that if there is a belief amongst the team and his teammates step up, the Lakers could be serious contenders.
“He has been resting for the whole off-season, and he’s got fresh legs,” Mooncey said.
“Over the course of 82 games, you can get worn down, pick up little nagging injuries, pick up little knocks here and there.
“So it’s important that the Lakers have a balanced team to keep him fresh for the playoffs.”
Damian Lillard – Milwaukee Bucks
Height: 6ft 2in
Often mentioned in the debate of players who are one of the best never to win a championship, Lillard is one of them.
After bursting onto the scene in 2012 and staying with the Portland Trail Blazers ever since, his side, despite his best efforts, was unable to win the championship.
However, last month, there was a shake-up. Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and now is paired with Giannis Antetokounmpo in what is set to be an absolutely mouth-watering prospect.
With Antetokounmpo winning the Bucks the title almost single-handedly back in 2021, this could be an exciting partnership to watch.