The 2019-20 NBA season is upon us and while things got underway with an opening-day doubleheader, Thursday marks the first full slate of action with an 11-game schedule.
With five of the 11 games airing nationally on various networks, six games will air exclusively on NBA League Pass . After a busy offseason, each game features at least one debut of a notable name on a new team. Rather than focusing on just one game, we've got you covered with each of the six games.
With that in mind, here's a guide for what to watch for on the first full night of NBA action.
Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets, 4:30 AM IST
Free-agent acquisition Terry Rozier makes his Charlotte Hornets debut in front of his home crowd against the Chicago Bulls. Rozier, who signed a three-year deal this offseason, averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists off the bench in three games against Chicago last season.
Now, as Charlotte's full-time starter, Rozier's debut will be highly-anticipated as he looks to take the leap to become an established starter in the league.
Other notable debuts: Bulls - Tomas Satorasnsky, Coby White (rookie), Thaddeus Young,
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic, 4:30 AM IST
There is plenty to keep an eye on in this one but many will be fixated on former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, who will look to make his impact felt in his Orlando Magic debut. While he did experience some struggles, the 21-year-old showed some signs of promise in the preseason and will look to continue to shake the rust off after missing 63 games in the 2018-19 season.
It's been nearly a year since Fultz last saw action in a regular season game, so the adjustment period is to be expected but getting off to a solid start could do wonders for his confidence as a player and Orlando's confidence in the ability to rely on him this season.
Other notable debuts: Cavaliers - Darius Garland (rookie)
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Miami Heat, 5 AM IST
To the surprise of some, four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler elected to sign with the Miami Heat in an offseason in which he was one of the biggest targets on the open market. Butler immediately assumes the responsibilities of being the Heat's franchise player and looks to get the team back to the postseason.
The 30-year-old is coming off of a postseason in which he averaged 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game and will likely be expected to produce more to ensure this team's success.
Other notable debuts: Grizzlies - Brandon Clarke (rookie), Ja Morant (rookie)
Heat - Tyler Herro (rookie)
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets, 5 AM IST
Arguably the biggest free-agent acquisition to make his debut on Wednesday is the Nets' Kyrie Irving, who earned All-NBA Second Team honours last season in Boston. Irving signed a four-year deal worth nearly $140 million this offseason to join the Nets.
With Brooklyn's Kevin Durant expected to miss the entirety of the season as he rehabs his Achilles, Irving has high expectations to live up to in 2019-20. After postseason disappointment with the Celtics, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of how special of a player Irving truly is.
He'll look to remind us on opening night.
Other notable debuts: Timberwolves - Jarrett Culver (rookie)
Nets - DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince
Washington Wizards vs. Dallas Mavericks, 6 AM IST
It's been over 600 days since we've seen Kristaps Porzingis play in a regular-season NBA game.
When he went down with a torn ACL on Feb. 6, 2018, Porzingis was establishing himself as one of the league's most unique talents and was gearing up to appear in the first of many All-Star games.
Now, he returns to action with a new team and a new running mate in 2019 Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic - the two stand to become one of the more promising young duos in the league.
If it wants to emerge as a playoff contender in the West, it's important for Dallas to come out of the gates strong.
Other notable debuts: Wizards - Rui Hachimura (rookie), Ish Smith
Mavericks - Boban Marjanovic, Delon Wright
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz, 6:30 AM IST
Two teams that had some of the busiest offseasons means several notable debuts in this one.
For OKC, we'll see the highly-anticipated debuts of trade acquisitions Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul. While the Thunder's offseason moves were more to position themselves for the future, this trio of newcomers can contribute to immediate success. The 21-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander projects to be the franchise's centrepiece for the future, and will likely bridge the gap between eras of Thunder basketball.
The Jazz made a few big moves to position themselves as legitimate contenders this season, motioning to acquire Mike Conley from the Grizzlies and signing free agent forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Both Conley and Bogdanovic will start for Utah, which now arguably has one of the strongest starting lineups in the NBA.
With no shortage of new talent on display, this meeting between division foes will be one worth tuning in to.
Other notable debuts: Thunder - Darius Bazley (rookie)
Jazz - Ed Davis, Jeff Green, Emmanuel Mudiay
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