The NBA announced the complete schedule for the 2023-24 season on August 17th after weeks of the games leaking individually. We know the Lakers will open the season in Denver against the Nuggets, will play the Celtics on Christmas Day and will host the Suns in their home opener.
On top of that, we already knew the dates of the in-season tournament. The four games will all take place in November, highlighted by contests against the Suns and Grizzlies.
That still left plenty of unknowns that were filled in with the schedule release. With the dates and opponents known, here’s a look at the five games Lakers fans should be most excited for in the 2023-24 season.
Lakers vs. Grizzlies, Jan. 5
This won’t be the first time these two teams meet, but the first meeting — which will take place during the in-season tournament group games — will come with Ja Morant sidelined. I imagine it’s not going to feel quite the same.
Instead, this meeting will be the first against the full-strength Grizzlies. It won’t feel the same this season playing them and Dillon Brooks not being there, but there are still plenty of other holdovers to make it enticing enough.
Lakers vs. Clippers, Nov. 1
This hasn’t exactly been a rivalry in recent years. Ty Lue hasn’t lost to the Lakers, which is wild. Eventually, that streak will end and it certainly does feel like this Lakers team could finally break that run.
Lakers vs. Bucks, March 8
These two teams have had some fun meetings in the last couple of seasons even when the Lakers weren’t good. Anthony Davis vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a fun matchup in those contests. The Bucks still are a sort of barometer when it comes to stacking up with title contenders, even if they didn’t even make it out of the first round last year.
Lakers vs. Spurs, Dec. 13
While this is a far cry from the days when these two teams were the cream of the crop in the Western Conference. Victor Wembanyama, though, adds a new dynamic to this matchup.
For one, he alone is must-watch television as one of the most unique prospects ever. The Lakers have perhaps one of the few people who can match up with him in Anthony Davis, which will make it a fun contest alone.
To top it off, there are few things LeBron James enjoys more than matching up with players of the next generation and showing them he still has it. And he’s going to get back-to-back cracks at it on Dec. 13 and 15.
Lakers vs. Warriors, Jan. 27
Another playoff rematch, but one with some more intrigue. The Warriors went out and made one of the most bizarre trades of the offseason in acquiring Chris Paul. I have absolutely no idea how that’s going to work and it doesn’t seem like anyone does.
It was already going to be fun to watch these two teams match up again, but add in the CP3 element and it’s going to be an even more...interesting game.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.