The upcoming schedule for the 2017-18 NBA season has been announced and it’s filled with matchups that are guaranteed to make you “ooh” and “ahh”. This will be the fans first true look at the fresh set of talent is ready to put their stamp on the NBA. The incoming rookie class is one of the more exciting in recent memory and there will be plenty of them to view.
Philadelphia 76ers young stars Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons will both be in the running for the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year and they are a pair to keep your eye on. All of the focus will be on the development in Philly but two of their division rivals have some star first-year players of their own. The Boston Celtics have a score-first wingman in Jayson Tatum looking to compete for a spot in the rotation and the New York Knicks French sensation point guard Frank Ntilikina will hope to make his mark in the NBA right away.
Of course, out west everyone will look for Lonzo Ball to dazzle the court with his tremendous passing and court vision while assisting his fellow rookies Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant. The Phoenix Suns have a stud-in-the-making with wingman Josh Jackson who is already turning heads with some top NBA talents. Plus, the Sacramento Kings have a litany of rookies to watch from former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox to North Carolina’s National Championship wingman Josh Jackson and the intriguing prospects of top recruit Harry Giles who faced injury issues before joining Duke for one year. Don’t forget the Dallas Mavericks having quite possibly the most exciting rookie of the summer, Dennis Smith Jr, ready to take over.
2017-18 NBA Schedule: Top Rookie Matchups
Charlotte Hornets vs Sacramento Kings
First game: Tuesday, January 2nd
Matchup to watch: Malik Monk vs De’Aaron Fox
Why? The former Kentuck teammates play each other for the first time since leaving Coach Calipari after one season in Lexington. The two guards might not be household names right now but this could be the first step in a potential rivalry.
Phoenix Suns vs New York Knicks
First game: Friday, November 3rd
Matchup to watch: Josh Jackson vs Frank Ntilikina
why? The New York Knicks were reportedly enamored by Josh Jackson ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft. So enamored that they reportedly were looking to deal Kristaps Porzingis, if they got Phoenix’s pick back in return.
Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers
First game: Saturday, October 28
Matchup to watch: Donovan Mitchell vs Lonzo Ball
Why? Quite possibly the best defensive guard in the draft, Donovan Mitchell, gets his first NBA game against possibly the most dynamic playmaker from the 2017 draft.
Sacramento Kings vs New York Knicks
First game: Saturday, November 11th
Matchup to watch: De’Aaron Fox vs Frank Ntilikina
Why? After Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, the stacked point guard crop continued with Fox and Ntilikina leading that next tier of PG’s, joined by Dennis Smith Jr. The first two point guards selected after the top two were selected get their first chance to square off.
Phoenix Suns vs Orlando Magic
First game: Friday, November 10th
Matchup to watch: Josh Jackson vs Jonathan Isaac
Why? It’s a matchup between the two best defenders in this draft class. Their athleticism is going to allow both players to potentially make some plays against each other. Don’t expect them to shoot the lights out.
Charlotte Hornets vs New York Knicks
First game: Tuesday, November 7th
Matchup to watch: Malik Monk vs Frank Ntilikina
why? Another player the Knicks considered over Frank Ntilkina was Malik Monk, according to reports. Let’s see if the Knicks made the right choice when Monk and the Hornets take on Frank and the Knicks.
Dallas Mavericks vs Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Saturday, October 28th
Matchup to watch: Dennis Smith Jr vs Markelle Fultz
Why? Markelle Fultz was the first pick of the 2017 NBA draft but many have their eyes on Dennis Smith Jr to win the Rookie of the Year award. These two almost seem destined to battle for years to come.
Utah Jazz vs Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Tuesday, November 7th
Matchup to watch: Donovan Mitchell vs Markelle Fultz / Ben Simmons
why? Another case of Donovan Mitchell facing off with a talented guard but he might have his hands full. Fellow rookie Ben Simmons will possibly also garner some attention from Mitchell.
Dallas Mavericks vs Sacramento Kings
First game: Friday, October 20th
Matchup to watch: Dennis Smith Jr vs De’Aaron Fox
Why? Dennis Smith was the fifth point guard selected in the 2017 NBA Draft and you can already see he’s playing with a small chip on hi shoulder because of it. One player who could get in Smith’s way to prove the doubters wrong is De’Aaron Fox and who knows what kind of fancy scoring we’ll get from these two.
Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics
First game: Saturday, December 1st
Matchup to watch: Josh Jackson vs Jayson Tatum
why? The top two wingmen selected in the 2017 NBA draft will face-off for the first time. This could be another good rivalry over the next few years.
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers
First game: Saturday, January 13th
Matchup to watch: Dennis Smith Jr vs Lonzo Ball
why? Dennis Smith Jr and Lonzo Ball are both going to be handling the ball for their respective squads but which style of play will win out? Will Smith’s athletic playmaking or Ball’s mystifying passing seal a win for their team?
Phoenix Suns vs Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Thursday, December 4th
Matchup to watch: Josh Jackson vs Ben Simmons
Why? At his core, Ben Simmons is a three-man but he will get his shot as a point guard. But no matter where he plays on the floor, you can almost assume Josh Jackson will be the one defending him.
Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Friday, October 20th
Matchup to watch: Jayson Tatum vs Markelle Fultz / Ben Simmons
why? The trade that changed the 2017 draft will see the players involved in an actual NBA game for the first time with an additional wrinkle. Ben Simmons will be involved as Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz garner all of the attention.
Dallas Mavericks vs New York Knicks
First game: Tuesday, March 13th
Matchup to watch: Dennis Smith Jr vs Frank Ntilikina
Why? Will Dennis Smith Jr make the Knicks, and their fans, regret selecting Frank Ntilikina? We’ll find out when the two teams play in New York. Hopefully, Smith won’t get pressured to eat octopus, again.
Sacramento Kings vs Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Thursday, November 9th
Matchup to watch: De’Aaron Fox / Justin Jackson vs Markelle Fultz / Ben Simmons
Why? There’s a host of young talents on both sides but the Fox/Jackson pairing matching up with Fultz/Simmons will be the one to watch. Joel Embiid and Dario Saric will also have their hands full as they go up against Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein. This should be a fun contest between two of the youngest teams in the league.
Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers
First game: Wednesday, November 8th
Matchup to watch: Jayson Tatum vs Lonzo Ball / Kyle Kuzma
Why? Not only is it Celtics vs Lakers but for the second year in a row, it’s the Celtics star rookie versus the Lakers star rookie. Jayson Tatum and Lonzo Ball might not face-off too much but if Summer League is any indication of potential, Lakers wingman Kyle Kuzma will be the one getting buckets over the former Duke star in Tatum.
Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers
First game: Wednesday, November 22nd
Matchup to watch: De’Aaron Fox vs Lonzo Ball
Why? The point guard matchup we all wanted to see during Summer League will finally happen early in the season. The rivalry between Fox and Ball has spanned months now, dating back to their college days, and their first NBA game against each other should provide some intrigue.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers
First game: Wednesday, November 15th
Matchup to watch: Lonzo Ball vs Markelle Fultz / Ben Simmons
Why? It’s simple. The top two picks are going against each other and you can add Ben Simmons in there for additional hype.