Nick Nurse Era Begins: Sixers Face Bucks in Season Opener

Joel Embiid, Sixers All-Star (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers All-Star (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

In just one week, the Philadelphia 76ers will open up their 2023-2024 season with a matchup on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 26th.

This will be the first game of the Nick Nurse era for the Philadelphia 76ers after three years with Doc Rivers at the helm.

During Rivers’ tenure in Philadelphia, the Sixers went 154-82, making the playoffs each year before falling in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The team’s inability to get over the hump was a major factor in his departure and Nick Nurse will look to rejuvenate this club and get them back to their first NBA Finals since 2001. Nurse previously won a championship with the Toronto Raptors and is looking for a fresh start after being fired at the end of the 2022-2023 season after posting just a 41-41 record.

The matchup will also be the first game to feature the new Bucks dynamic duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

Milwaukee is coming off a disappointing postseason in which they fell in the first round after capturing the number one seed in the regular season. The acquisition of Lillard combined with the hiring of Adrian Griffin have the Bucks in a prime position to repeat as the number one seed and contend for an NBA championship.

It is unclear whether James Harden will suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers after a strange offseason that started with a picked-up option and ended with a trade request and disparaging remarks about Sixers management. Nonetheless, Harden showed up to training camp (albeit a few days late), and barring an unexpected development, he will remain on the Sixers roster for the time being. If Harden does not take the court, the Sixers will likely start DeAnthony Melton in a lineup that figures to include PJ Tucker, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, and the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid.

The Sixers added to their bench this offseason, signing veterans Kelly Oubre, Patrick Beverly, Danny Green, and Mo Bamba to replace Georges Niang, Shake Milton and Jaden McDaniels. Oubre is the most notable of these names as he averaged over 20 points per game last season and has shot very well so far this preseason for the Sixers. Patrick Beverly and Danny Green will provide hustle, defense, and a veteran presence for a team that is looking to establish an identity under Nick Nurse.

Bamba is a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Philadelphia 76ers and will provide depth along with Paul Reed behind Joel Embiid in the backcourt. The Bucks, on the other hand, replaced Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen with Damian Lillard and Malik Beasley while re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez who both figure to be major contributors. With these moves, they solidified their core and constructed a roster that is built to win now.

This meeting will be the 224th game between the two teams with the Bucks leading the series 118-105.

The two teams split their four meetings last year with the last game resulting in a Bucks win on April 2nd. This is a matchup that could have major implications come playoff time and combined with the storylines surrounding both teams, it is a must-watch game to start the 2023-2024 season. You can catch all the action from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 26th at 7:30 PM EST on TNT.