There are always going to be certain games NBA players circle on their calendars when the schedule is released. For these six rookies, their first matchup with the players they look up to the most - or, in the case of Deandre Ayton, their greatest adversary - will make for must-see TV.
From Luka Doncic vs. LeBron James to Mohamed Bamba vs. Rudy Gobert, here are the six coming-of-age games you don't want to miss this season...
Luka Doncic vs. LeBron James
Date: Oct. 31 in Los Angeles
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has seen Luka Doncic play that LeBron James is his favorite player , and this will be his first of many opportunities to play against the four-time MVP.
Doncic might have been joking when he said he " can retire " if he dunks on LeBron, but you know he'll try to put No. 23 on a poster if he sees him standing underneath the basket.
Collin Sexton vs. Russell Westbrook
Date: Nov. 7 in Cleveland
When asked who his game resembles the most , Collin Sexton said John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Russell Westbrook. And of the three, Westbrook is the one Sexton relates to the most because of the energy the seven-time All-Star plays with on a nightly basis.
Sexton won't have to wait long to get an up-close look at what makes Westbrook one of the most dynamic point guards the league has ever seen.
Trae Young vs. Stephen Curry
Date: Nov. 13 in Golden State
Trae Young has tried to distance himself from the Stephen Curry comparisons , and yet there's no denying that there are some similarities in their games.
Just ask the man who has trained them both .
While the young Hawks don't stand much of a chance against the defending champs, Young trying to go toe-to-toe with Curry should be a lot of fun.
Wendell Carter Jr. vs. Al Horford
Date: Nov. 14 in Boston
A talented big man who can shoot, pass and defend, there is a lot of Al Horford in Wendell Carter Jr. Carter even embraces the comparison, telling The Athletic he has modeled his game after the Boston Celtics All-Star.
The two will get to know each other well this season, as Chicago and Boston will meet again in December and February.
Deandre Ayton vs. Joel Embiid
Date: Nov. 19 at Philadelphia
This matchup might not be as amicable as the others.
When Chauncey Billups compared Deandre Ayton to Joel Embiid on draft night, it didn't take the Philadelphia 76ers big man long to downplay the similarities in their games.
Don't compare Ayton to me either... I play DEFENSE- Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2018
Ayton didn't have much to say in response , but you can expect them both to bring their A game when they see each other on the court for the first time.
Mohamed Bamba vs. Rudy Gobert
Date: Dec. 15 in Mexico City
Before Mohamed Bamba came along, Rudy Gobert held the NBA Draft Combine record for the longest wingspan in the event's history. Bamba has the potential to be a more versatile offensive player than Gobert, but he could learn a thing or two from last season's Defensive Player of the Year when it comes to how he can use his long arms to anchor a defense.