(Illustration by Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

NBA season preview 2023: Wemby Watch, predictions, fantasy tips, tipoff cheat sheet

The 2023-24 NBA season begins Tuesday night with two Western Conference matchups that should set the tone for another spicy season. The defending champion Denver Nuggets will receive their rings and then host the Los Angeles Lakers in the season's first game. There might be lingering beef from the Nuggets' Western Conference finals sweep, so bring the popcorn. In the second game, Kevin Durant returns to the Bay Area with the Phoenix Suns' Big 3 of Devin Booker and Bradley Beal to face the Golden State Warriors, who now employ "sixth starter" Chris Paul. You'll need a popcorn refill for that one.

On Wednesday night, hyped rookie Victor Wembanyama debuts for the San Antonio Spurs, highlighting a full slate of games. Giannis Antetokounmpo and new running mate Damian Lillard will face the Philadelphia 76ers (with or without James Harden) on Thursday. Yahoo Sports will have full coverage of all opening-week highlights.

Ahead of training camps and the preseason, Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Ben Rohrbach recapped a busy offseason with 16 key storylines. While some have found their resolution, a lot is still to be determined as the season opens Tuesday.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of tipoff.

Yahoo Sports' predictions 🔮

It wouldn't be a new season without a set of predictions of what lies ahead. Yahoo Sports' senior NBA writers — Vincent Goodwill, Dan Devine, Jake Fischer and Ben Rohrbach — make their picks for the league's top awards, playoff teams, conference finals matchups, NBA Finals matchup, NBA champion and Finals MVP.

(Illustration by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

Agree or disagree? Make your picks in the comments.

(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

Wemby Watch 👀

From comparisons to the best and most-hyped NBA players to sold-out Summer League sessions and eye-popping preseason highlights, NBA fans can't get enough of 2023 NBA Draft No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama.

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Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Vincent Goodwill writes:

Nobody does hype better than the NBA, utilizing every avenue to promote its current and future stars.

Oftentimes, the trailer makes the movie look better than it is. There’s been too many cases to count, too many laughable instances of players not being worth the paper their posters were plastered over NBA-sanctioned canvases.

But in the case of Victor Wembanyama, no amount of preparation could ready the basketball world for the journey it is about to embark on.

It starts Wednesday night against Dallas, in a friendly atmosphere to be sure but the anticipation is from all directions.

🔗 Read more from Goodwill on Wembanyama's expectations.

👶 Yahoo Sports NBA Draft analyst Krysten Peek on other rookies to watch this season.

NBA Levels 🏆

Yahoo Sports set out this preseason to come up with a definitive placement of the top players for the 2023-24 season.

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Nine Yahoo Sports writers, editors and producers submitted ballots with their individual player placements in four levels. Players were assigned points based on the level they were placed on each ballot to determine overall level placement. Players had to appear on the majority of ballots to be considered for this project.

Players were not ranked numerically in each level nor in the overall project. Instead, they were assigned a level based on the aggregate voting. Each level has a varied number of players for a total of 39 players in the project.

🔗 See the full list of the top 39 NBA players in four levels.

(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Illustration by Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

The Bill Russell Scale 🐐

Now in its third season, The Bill Russell Scale aims to create an unbiased ranking of the top-75 unassailable players in NBA history based on a career that was close to perfection. Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Ben Rohrbach designed the system to rank past and current NBA players based on Russell's career.

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The 75 greatest players in NBA history, according to the 100-point scale (active players in bold):

1. Bill Russell (100)
2. Michael Jordan (99)
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (97)
4. LeBron James (96)

LeBron James headshot
LeBron James
SF - LAL - #23
2022 - 2023 season
28.9
Pts
8.3
Reb
6.8
Ast
0.6
Blk
35:32
Min

T5. Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant (92)
T8. Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal (89)
10. Larry Bird (87.2)
T11. Bob Pettit, Oscar Robertson, Karl Malone (84)
14. Hakeem Olajuwon (83.9)
15. Jerry West (82.9)
16. Kevin Durant (82.8)

Kevin Durant headshot
Kevin Durant
SF - PHO - #35
2022 - 2023 season
29.1
Pts
6.7
Reb
5
Ast
1.4
Blk
35:34
Min

17. Moses Malone (80)
18. John Havlicek (79.2)
19. Dirk Nowitzki (79)
T20. Kevin Garnett, David Robinson, Chris Paul (78)

Chris Paul headshot
Chris Paul
PG - GS - #3
2022 - 2023 season
13.9
Pts
4.3
Reb
8.9
Ast
1.5
Stl
32:01
Min

23. Charles Barkley (77)
24. Bob Cousy (76.3)
25. Stephen Curry (75.4)

Stephen Curry headshot
Stephen Curry
PG - GS - #30
2022 - 2023 season
29.4
Pts
6.1
Reb
6.3
Ast
0.9
Stl
34:40
Min

26. Dolph Schayes (74.8)
27. James Harden (73.4)

James Harden headshot
James Harden
SG - LAC - #1
2022 - 2023 season
21
Pts
6.1
Reb
10.7
Ast
1.2
Stl
36:49
Min

28. George Mikan (72.2)
29. Elgin Baylor (72)
30. Dwyane Wade (71.7)
31. John Stockton (71)
32. Patrick Ewing (70.2)
33. Julius Erving (69.2)
34. Dwight Howard (68.8)
35. Scottie Pippen (67.5)
36. Russell Westbrook (67.4)

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Russell Westbrook headshot
Russell Westbrook
PG - LAC - #0
2022 - 2023 season
15.9
Pts
5.8
Reb
7.5
Ast
1
Stl
29:07
Min

37. Elvin Hayes (67)
38. Steve Nash (66.6)
39. Gary Payton (66.3)
40. Giannis Antetokounmpo (66.2)

Giannis Antetokounmpo headshot
Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF - MIL - #34
2022 - 2023 season
31.1
Pts
11.8
Reb
5.7
Ast
0.8
Blk
32:08
Min

T41. Paul Arizin, Allen Iverson (65.5)
T43. George Gervin, Clyde Drexler (65.2)
T45. Rick Barry, Jason Kidd (64.9)
47. Dominique Wilkins (64.4)
48. Paul Pierce (64)
49. Robert Parish (63.1)
50. Isiah Thomas (62.6)
51. Sam Jones (61.8)
52. Carmelo Anthony (61.3)
53. Walt Frazier (61)
54. Ray Allen (60.5)
55. Pau Gasol (60)
56. Tracy McGrady (59.3)
57. Tony Parker (59.1)
58. Hal Greer (59)
59. Damian Lillard (58.9)

Damian Lillard headshot
Damian Lillard
PG - MIL - #0
2022 - 2023 season
32.2
Pts
4.8
Reb
7.3
Ast
0.9
Stl
36:20
Min

T60. Bill Sharman, Nikola Jokić (58.7)

Nikola Jokic headshot
Nikola Jokic
C - DEN - #15
2022 - 2023 season
24.5
Pts
11.8
Reb
9.8
Ast
0.7
Blk
33:40
Min

62. Anthony Davis (58.6)

Anthony Davis headshot
Anthony Davis
PF - LAL - #3
2022 - 2023 season
25.9
Pts
12.5
Reb
2.6
Ast
2
Blk
34:00
Min

63. Chris Bosh (58.2)
T64. Willis Reed, Reggie Miller (57.9)
66. Kawhi Leonard (57.4)

Kawhi Leonard headshot
Kawhi Leonard
SF - LAC - #2
2022 - 2023 season
23.8
Pts
6.5
Reb
3.9
Ast
0.5
Blk
33:37
Min

67. LaMarcus Aldridge (57.2)
T68. Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale (56.9)
70. Chauncey Billups (56.6)
71. Paul George (56.3)

Paul George headshot
Paul George
SF - LAC - #13
2022 - 2023 season
23.8
Pts
6.1
Reb
5.1
Ast
0.4
Blk
34:38
Min

72. Grant Hill (56.2)
73. Bob McAdoo (55.5)
74. Jerry Lucas (55.4)
T75. Bob Lanier, Vince Carter (55.3)
🔗 See the full methodology and where more current players rank. 

Hot Takes We Might Actually Believe 🔥

Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Ben Rohrbach takes an annual trip too close to the sun, daring you to stand the swelter of these views in his preseason series, Hot Takes We Might Actually Believe:
The Denver Nuggets are a budding dynasty
Jayson Tatum is your 2023-24 NBA MVP
The Golden State Warriors are no longer serious contenders
The Miami Heat will miss the NBA playoffs
Joel Embiid will request a trade from 76ers this NBA season

5 Most Interesting Teams 🤔

Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Dan Devine took a closer look at a handful of squads he finds particularly compelling heading into the 2023-24 season. His look at the five most interesting teams in the NBA — to him, if not necessarily to anyone else:
Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ers
Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans
Miami Heat

Reintroduction to the NBA title race 🎰

Dan Devine looked at the six teams entering the 2023-24 campaign with championship odds of 15-to-1 (+1500) or better, according to BetMGM, earlier this month. While the odds have slightly changed, the teams remain. He makes the case for and against each title contender.
1️⃣ Milwaukee Bucks (+400)
2️⃣ Boston Celtics (+400)
3️⃣ Denver Nuggets (+550)
4️⃣ Phoenix Suns (+650)
5️⃣ Los Angeles Lakers (+1300)
6️⃣ Golden State Warriors (+1400)

Fantasy basketball tips 📱

Welcome to the start of a new fantasy basketball season! Navigating through all the potential paths that lead to success can be tricky with all that goes into drafting. Don't worry, though, because Yahoo Sports fantasy basketball analyst Dan Titus shares insights into what works and doesn't so you can move forward confidently.

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Quick tips:
😴 Sleeper picks: Centers | Forwards | Guards
📉 Players to fade: Centers | Forwards | Guards
💪 Breakout candidates: Centers | Forwards | Guards
🔢 Draft ranking tiers: Centers | Power forwards | Small forwards | Shooting guards | Point guards
💻 Mock drafts: 12-team points | 12-team category

How to watch the NBA season 📺

National TV broadcasts will again be on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV this season, with some teams choosing local broadcast options available in those markets. NBA League Pass is available for fans who want to watch out-of-market games (local restrictions apply) that aren't nationally broadcast.

  • NBA League Pass

    Stream every out-of-market game

📅 Dan Devine's can't-miss games of the 2023-24 NBA season.

Follow Yahoo Sports' NBA coverage all season 🏀

🎧 Ball Don't Lie podcast: Subscribe to the "Ball Don't Lie" podcast feed where ever you listen to podcasts for four shows per week from Vincent Goodwill, Dan Devine and Jake Fischer.

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Mondays: "Good Word with Goodwill" hosts Vincent Goodwill's friends around the basketball world to discuss the latest news and buzzy topics around the Association.
Tuesdays: "Devine Intervention" brings you some basketball therapy as Dan Devine hosts guests who offer some self-help.
Wednesdays: Vincent Goodwill is back for a second "Good Word with Goodwill" solo episode where he talks through whatever is on his mind.
Thursdays: "No Cap Room" features Jake Fischer and Dan Devine taking you behind the scenes to tell you what's really going on in the NBA.

📧 Ball Don't Lie newsletter: Subscribe to the weekly "Ball Don't Lie" newsletter to get the latest basketball news from Yahoo Sports' insiders each Thursday in your inbox.

👩‍💻 Follow Yahoo Sports on social media: Be part of the "Ball Don't Lie" community on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

🟪 Yahoo Sports quick links: Scores/schedule | Injury report | Standings | Statistical leaders | Fantasy hoops | Latest news

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