The strongest basketball league is underway! The NBA officially kicked off on wednesday night with games between the Denver Nuggets and the LA Lakers and the Golden Satte Warriors and the Phoenix Suns. The title is to be defended by Mike Malone’s squad with Nikola Jokić at the helm – the Denver Nuggets. We’ll look at who the favourites are for the new season, where Luka Dončić and Dallas can go this year, who can surprise, and which of the great players have ended their long careers.

Favourites and expectations for the new NBA season

Shaq – The Dallas Mavericks will win the title!

Experts and analysts are widely speculating and predicting all sorts of scenarios, but the attention of Slovenian basketball fans has been “stolen” by the forecast of the former center of many NBA teams, the living legend Shaquille O’Neal, who has given recognition to Luka Dončić and his teammates, announcing them as a team that can go all the way – to the championship ring. But for something like this, a major team overhaul will be needed, which, at first glance, looks very similar to the previous season. O’Neal was likely referring to a better connection between the Irving-Dončić duo, but in basketball, it’s not individuals who win, but the team as a whole.

“The league’s Most Valuable Player will be Nikola Jokić, Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama, and Ben Simmons will show the most improvement, and the title will go to the Dallas Mavericks,” said the tall and very popular former multiple champion.

Is Denver still the top favorite after all?

Over the summer, last year’s champions didn’t significantly change their team. The core of the team remained the same, including the “big three” of Murray, Jokić, and Gordon. Most is expected, of course, from the current MVP of the NBA Finals, Nikola Jokić, who, according to many, deserved his third consecutive regular season MVP award, but it went to Joel Embiid. The team already showed good play and strategies in the preseason, with which they dominated the competition last year. The flagship horse is not changed, as the coaching staff also realizes.

Who can threaten last year’s champions?

We don’t agree with the words that the famous Shaq threw into the public, even though we would certainly like that because of the Slovenian Luka Dončić, but we believe that Dallas lacks depth above all. They acquired Dereck Lively II from the draft for the center position and defensive specialist Grant Williams, a recent member of the Boston Celtics, for the forward position, but it seems that their weak point is still defense. This was evident even in the preseason games. So, we believe that fans on the sunny side of the Alps will have to wait a bit longer for the title of the new Slovenian in the NBA.

Speaking of champions connected with Slovenia – Vlatko Čančar will have to spend this season, or at least most of it, sitting out due to a knee injury he sustained during the preparations for the European Championship.

So, the teams we consider in the narrow circle of favorites are such as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, and Golden State Warriors.

They have been threatening the best for a long time. Especially during the regular season, there were predictions that Tatum and his teammates would be extremely dangerous. Something has always been missing for them to reach the pinnacle. Is the team mature enough for a step up this year?

Jimmy Butler’s statements before the season were very bold. He said he was ready, and his team was ready, and we know that when it’s most necessary, they are the best. They also have no shortage of experience; they just need to finish things the right way.

A strongly reinforced roster, led by the superior trio of Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant. They did lose center Deandre Ayton, but they have the “Bosnian Beast” Jusuf Nurkić.

With the arrival of Damian Lillard, their stocks have risen significantly, and in tandem with Giannis Antetokounmpo, they may form the best duo in the league. Is it time for a return to the top?

By adding Chris Paul, they gained a wealth of experience, and what’s particularly interesting is that the seasoned playmaker has not tasted the sweetness of a championship yet. With Curry, Thompson, and Green, it seems like the right moment has come.

The evergreen defensive specialist is bidding farewell to the NBA

After 19 seasons in the NBA, Andre Iguodala is ending his illustrious career. He will be best remembered for his time with the Golden State Warriors, where he won four championship rings. He particularly shone in 2015, when he was awarded the NBA Finals MVP after being responsible for guarding LeBron James.

This decision by the league was quite controversial eight years ago. Many believed that Stephen Curry deserved the award. Iguodala was tasked with covering LeBron James in defense, who still averaged almost 36 points per game. He also averaged 13 rebounds and 9 assists per game. In the 2015 Finals, Iguodala scored an average of 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.

James returned the favor the following year when Iguodala prevented Golden State from taking the lead with a crucial block in the decisive seventh game of the finals. This action is considered one of the most important defensive moments in the history of the strongest basketball league in the world.

Together with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, he won four NBA championships, the last one in 2022.

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