It’s crazy to say, but the start of the 2023-24 NBA season is just around the corner. Which means the return of Golden State Warriors basketball is just around the corner. Steve Kerr has a few FIBA World Cup games to coach before he returns to roaming the sidelines at Chase Center, but soon enough the Dubs will be donning their gorgeous jerseys and kicking off a new campaign, with hopes of winning a fifth ring in a 10-year span.
80 games are on the schedule, with a break in December for an in-season tournament, and hopefully another 20-25 after the regular season concludes. And the NBA, as we all know, is not lacking for storylines and drama.
So here’s the full schedule in terms of revenge games only. Everyone’s list might be different, depending on how you define the term. I, for instance, don’t think that a game against the New York Knicks represents a revenge game for Donte DiVincenzo, or that a game against the Philadelphia 76ers is one that Dario Šarić is circling on his calendar as he paces around his Pacific Heights rental in a huff.
But the games below? They’ll feel a little extra exciting because of the element of revenge. And for whatever reason, they’re largely clumped at the start of the season.
Game No. 1 — October 24 vs. the Suns
The season starts with the first of four revenge games against the revengiest team in the league for the Dubs: the Phoenix Suns.
The biggest revenge factor is for Chris Paul, whose first game with his new team (and long-time rival) comes against the team he just left. The team with immediate championship aspirations that let publicly leak that they might waive him to save money, and then decided they’d rather try and win with Bradley Beal than with him. Defensible? Absolutely. Has been grinding the Hall of Fame point guard’s gears all offseason? Also absolutely.
But that’s not the only factor. Kevin Durant will play at Chase Center in front of fans for the first time ever, assuming he’s healthy. Šarić gets to play against the Suns a season after they shipped him off in a salary dump rather than see if he could help them in the playoffs. And old friend Damion Lee returns to the Dubs, where he seems to have a good relationship but surely would like to make them rue not prioritizing him more.
Game No. 7 — November 5 at the Cavaliers
There’s not much spark left between the Warriors and Cavaliers. It’s been many years since they met in the NBA Finals four years in a row, and while the Cavs have since returned to prominence, it’s with an entirely new cast of players: not a single player from that 2017-18 Cavs team still plays for Cleveland, with trainer Stephen Spiro representing the only holdover from the coaching staff.
And no, this isn’t a Ty Jerome revenge game, at least I don’t think so. Please don’t blame me if he drops 50 on the Dubs.
But Andrew Wiggins, for as mild-mannered as he is, has a knack for going off against teams that have passed him over, and that includes the Cavs, who used a No. 1 overall pick on him just to ship him to Minnesota before he ever played a game for them.
Game No. 8 — November 6 at the Pistons
Assuming he’s healthy, James Wiseman won’t have to wait very long in his fourth season to face the team that drafted him. You can bet he’ll want to prove that the Dubs made a mistake by giving up on him so early in his career. And while the Warriors players and coaches have nothing but great things to say about Wiseman, you can also bet they don’t want to deal with the fan and media narratives that will pop off if he looks good against them.
Game No. 10 — November 11 vs. the Cavaliers
Game No. 11 — November 12 vs. the Timberwolves
Game No. 12 — November 14 vs. the Timberwolves
A very fun stretch of games for Wiggins. He gets to face the two teams that eventually moved on from him a total of three times in just four days ... all while staying cozy at home in the Bay Area, as the Dubs kick off a six-game trip.
Game No. 16 — November 22 at the Suns
Golden State’s second game against the Suns will allow us to see what the fan reception in Phoenix is to Paul. Will they cheer the player who made the All-Star team in two of his three seasons, helped Deandre Ayton actualize his talent, and was quite arguably (and statistically) the best player on a team that made the NBA Finals for the first time since Charles Barkley was in his 20s? Or will the boo a player who, despite being an all-time great, seems to always leave fanbases annoyed with him?
Game No. 19 — November 30 vs. the Clippers
Game No. 20 — December 2 at the Clippers
A home and away back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers. These games are always so fun as is. It’s a funny half rivalry that always produces tension and excitement.
And now you add CP3 into the mix? I can’t wait for these. We might not know how the Suns fanbase will react to Paul, but the Clippers will almost surely boo him. Why? Who knows. They’ve got nothing better to do.
Game No. 21 — December 12 at the Suns
The fun thing about rivalry games is that they evolve as things go on. The Suns fanbase might have a tepid reaction the first time they see Paul, but if he’s putting up video game numbers for a Warriors team that’s leading the West, the reaction might sour by mid-December. Conversely, if Beal is struggling in his first season in the desert, the Arizona faithful might be a little more kind to CP3 when they see him.
Game No. 22 — December 14 at the Clippers
Probably no evolution here. Clippers fans won’t be excited to see Paul, and Paul will be excited to try and beat the Clippers.
Game No. 24 — December 17 at the Trail Blazers
There’s little love lost between the Blazers and Gary Payton II. From GP2’s standpoint, they mistreated his injury, lied about it, and then pressured him to play through an ailment. From Portland’s standpoint, he openly pined for the Warriors, publicly called out their training staff, and then went on a media tour about how much more he likes the Golden State organization.
This should be fun.
Game No. 26 — December 22 vs. the Wizards
Ahh, the one you’ve really got circled. How could you not be stoked about Ryan Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr. having their revenge games, while Paul tries to take out his anger on a team that employed him for a few days?
Jokes aside, you know why this is a big one: it’s Jordan Poole’s return. His return to the Bay Area. His return to facing Steve Kerr and Draymond Green. His debut playing for Warriors fans as the face of a franchise, rather than the up-and-coming spark plug in the shadows of a Hall of Fame core.
I hope he drops 50 in a loss that moves the Warriors to 26-0.
Game No. 27 — December 23 vs. the Trail Blazers
Playing the Blazers in San Francisco won’t be nearly the experience that it will be playing them in the Pacific Northwest for Payton. But you can bet that if there’s a team he wants to play well against and beat, it’s this one.
Game No. 33 — January 5 vs. the Pistons
By the time this game rolls around, it will have almost been a full year since Warriors fans got to watch Wiseman play. Fewer than five minutes of garbage time in an early February game represent the only time that Wiseman has or will have played at Chase Center in 2023.
Hopefully he gets nice cheers.
Game No. 50 — February 10 vs. the Suns
By this point in the season, the revenge elements of this matchup may have worn off, and we may just be here to enjoy some high-quality basketball. Or perhaps the two teams will be in such an intense playoff race that the revenge elements are amplified. Or maybe something will have happened in the first three games — a spat between Green and Durant, or between Paul and Ayton? — that makes this must-watch TV.
Game No. 52 — February 14 vs. the Clippers
You know the drill by this point.
Game No. 56 — February 27 at the Wizards
This should be a fun one. Even on the East Coast, you know Poole will want to take it to his old team and prove that they made a mistake in trading him away. He’ll have his home fans behind him and he’ll be comfortably used to the Wizards system as he attempts to make a statement.
Game No. 69 — March 24 at the Timberwolves
The fun thing about Wiggins revenge games is that they’re so understate. You kind of forget that Wiggins has history with a team until he drops a hammer on an old teammate, shows a rare bit of emotion, and then drops 35 points.
Game No. 78 — April 11 at the Trail Blazers
This one could end up being a dud. By this point in the year the Blazers fans might not have much of anything left to root for, and the annoyance of his Portland tenure may be a distant memory for GP2.