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Phoenix Suns begin 2018-19 season on October 17 vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Suns’ season starts with a bang as rookies Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic will square off for the first time ever.

NBA: Summer League-Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Before the full unveiling of this year’s schedule on Friday, we at least were given a sneak peek with the opening week slate plus holiday games. Turns out, Phoenix made the cut as one of the primetime draws. No surprise, but the two most heralded 2018 Draft prospects, Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic, grabbed the national attention as their new teams will face off on October 17.

Pair them with Devin Booker and Dennis Smith Jr., and it’s certainly worthy of the 7:30 PM AZ (10:30 ET) time slot on ESPN.

Last season, the Suns and Mavericks capped off a slate of games on ESPN in January, but obviously with way less fan interest as both teams were in the midst of full-fledged tanking. This time around, there will be none of that with both teams looking to make a push up the Western Conference standings.

This matchup certainly has plenty of storylines outside of Ayton versus Doncic, though. Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson will look to lock down Doncic defensively, while Ayton’s first battle in the frontcourt will be against seasoned veteran DeAndre Jordan.

Buckle up, Suns fans. This could be the first of many primetime slots that are thrown their way with now an appetizing group of young talent led by Booker and Ayton.

Stay tuned for a deep dive on the full 82-game schedule when it’s released on Friday.