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NBA League Pass Games to Watch: Week 1 of 2021-22 Season

The NBA's 75th anniversary season tips off on Tuesday, Oct. 19 and NBA League Pass has you covered for all of the action with a free preview for the opening week.

Brian Martin

Jalen Green and Scottie Barnes are two of the top five 2021 Draft picks that will make their NBA debuts Wednesday on NBA League Pass.

The NBA’s 75th anniversary season tips off on Tuesday, Oct. 19 and NBA League Pass has you covered for all of the action with a free preview for the opening week of the season. Here are some of the games you can catch this week, exclusively on NBA League Pass.

Wednesday, Oct. 20

Top five rookies make their NBA debuts

While we’ve seen them in Summer League and the preseason, the 2021-22 rookie class officially makes its debut with the tipoff of the regular season. For the top five picks in the Draft, that day is Wednesday, Oct. 20, so get ready to bounce from game to game during an 11-game night to see the next generation of the NBA make their first impression.

Chicago at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. ET

No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham averaged 18.7 points in the Summer League but has not appeared in any preseason games for the Pistons as he recovers from an ankle injury. While the word is that Cunningham is “on course” to return, the Pistons could hold Cunningham out if his ankle isn’t quite right on Wednesday.

Houston at Minnesota, 8:00 p.m. ET

No. 2 pick Jalen Green averaged 20.3 points in the Summer League and 13.3 in four preseason games for the Rockets. What will the NBA G League Ignite product have in store for his regular season debut against last year’s No. 1 overall pick and Kia Rookie of the Year runner-up Anthony Edwards? I mean, Green can make catching a cross-court pass a must-see highlight.

Cleveland at Memphis, 8:00 p.m. ET

No. 3 pick Evan Mobley will make his regular-season debut in Memphis as the Cavaliers clash with the Grizzlies. Mobley offered glimpses of how he can impact the game on both sides of the court during the summer league (11.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.7 bpg) and the preseason (8.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.6 bpg) as an athletic seven-footer that can defend at the rim and on the perimeter and has a handle to top things off.

Washington at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET

This game has significance for two reasons. First, it is the debut of No. 4 pick Scottie Barnes, who led all rookies and ranked 10th overall in assists during the preseason (5.6 per game) as his all-around play shined with averages of 9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 26 minutes per game. Here’s one of those dimes.

The Raptors’ 2021-22 season debut also marks the return of NBA basketball to Toronto for the first time since late February 2020. Following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season in the bubble, the Raptors played the entire 2020-21 season using Tampa as their temporary home due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions. Now, 600 days since the last game in Scotiabank Arena, Raptor fans in Toronto will be able to cheer for their team in person.

Orlando at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m. ET

No. 5 pick Jalen Suggs rounds out our look at the top five picks making their professional debuts on Wednesday night as the Orlando Magic head to San Antonio to take on the Spurs. After averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in Summer League, Suggs averaged only 5.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in three preseason games for the Magic as he shot just 27.3% from the field.

Thursday, Oct. 21

Milwaukee at Miami, 8:00 p.m. ET

The defending champion Bucks open the season on Tuesday night as they get their rings before hosting the Brooklyn Nets in a rematch of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. Two days later, it is a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference finals as the Bucks head to Miami to take on the Heat. It’s a matchup of the last two teams to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals and the regular season opener for the Heat.

Friday, Oct. 22

Charlotte at Cleveland, 7:00 p.m. ET

In his 10th annual League Pass Rankings, ESPN’s Zach Lowe had the Charlotte Hornets ranked as the fifth most fun team to watch. And it’s easy to see why. Reigning Kia Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball will drop a few ridiculous passes each game, Miles Bridges is a poster dunk waiting to happen and Terry Rozier can catch fire at any moment. You can find that Ball-to-Bridges alley-oop on SportsCenter’s Top 10 or on Twitter, or you can watch it happen live on League Pass.

Saturday, Oct. 23

Dallas at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET

What kind of magic will Luka Doncic have in store for his first appearance on NBA League Pass this season? He finished his third NBA season ranked sixth in both scoring (27.7 ppg) and assists (8.6 apg) to earn his second straight All-NBA First Team selection. In this year’s GM Survey, Doncic (33%) ranked second to Kevin Durant (37%) as the pick for 2021-22 Kia MVP. Of course, a lot of that will hinge on how well the Mavs play as a whole and if they can improve on last year’s 42-30 record. Dallas’ biggest offseason move was not a new player on the court, but a new coach on the sidelines as Jason Kidd takes over after Rick Carlisle’s 13 seasons at the helm.

Sunday, October 24

Golden State at Sacramento, 9:00 p.m. ET

It’s our first chance to see the Warriors on League Pass in a Northern California matchup with the Kings. Stephen Curry, who is coming off his second career scoring title (32.0 ppg), averaged 33.5 points against the Kings last season, while Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox averaged 31.0 points on 59% shooting against the Warriors. Curry finished second in the preseason in scoring (24.5 ppg in 22.8 mpg, including a 41-point performance against Portland in the final tune-up game) while Jordan Poole finished sixth (21.8 ppg in 22.7 mpg). For the Kings, in addition to Fox, we get to see Tyrese Haliburton (third in ROY voting last year) and rookie Davion Mitchell (co-MVP of Summer League) in their third game of the season.

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