The 2023-24 NBA season is fast approaching.
The league will reconvene for training camp Monday, kicking off a nearly nine-month odyssey to determine who will hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.
The offseason was dominated by chatter surrounding two disgruntled superstar guards: the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden, both of whom remain with their respective teams with four weeks until opening night.
But while nothing has happened yet in those sticky situations, plenty of changes have rocked the NBA over the past couple of months, as 29 teams attempt to catch Nikola Jokic and the reigning champion Denver Nuggets.
To assess what’s taken place this summer and what lies ahead this season, ESPN polled 15 scouts, coaches and executives from across the NBA on the battle for the mantle of league’s best player, offseason winners and losers and championship predictions.
1. Who is the NBA’s best player right now?Nikola Jokic: 13 votesGiannis Antetokounmpo: 2 votes
Over the first four seasons ESPN conducted this survey, Jokic didn’t receive a single vote in this category.
The Serbian center’s run through the playoffs to lead Denver to its first NBA title emphatically changed that, as the 2023 Finals MVP erased any lingering doubts about his ability to win at the highest level.
“Who else could win?” asked a Western Conference scout.
Antetokounmpo, the leading vote-getter in each of the past two surveys, came in a distant second but remains the only player to receive at least one vote in this category each of the past five years.