Paolo Banchero vs. Chet Holmgren headlines marquee rookie matchups on 2022-23 NBA schedule

With the announcement of the 2022-23 NBA schedule, we’re one step closer to the 2022 rookie class onslaught real NBA debuts.

The Las Vegas Summer League has shown us that players like No. 1 overall champion Paolo Banchero, No. 2 overall champion Chet Holmgren and No. 4 overall champion Keegan Murray seem ready for the big show.

Injuries shortened the Summer League for players like Jaden Ivey, No. 5 overall, Shaedon Sharpe, No. 7 overall, and Dyson Daniels, No. 8 overall, while players like Jabari Smith Jr., No. 3 overall, and No. 10, overall standings Johnny Davis went with something more to prove.

MORE: Each team’s top player in the Las Vegas Summer League

Take a look at nine rookie matchups to look out for as you break down the 2022-23 NBA schedule.

The best rookie matchups in the 2022-23 NBA schedule

Paolo Banchero vs. Chet Holmgren

First date: Nov 1 – Magic at Thunder (TNT)

We missed a summer league meeting between Banchero and Holmgren where both players were shut down after their first few games. That means we still haven’t seen a neck-and-neck race between the top two picks since Banchero Holmgren dominated when Duke and Gonzaga went head-to-head in November 2021.

In that contest, Banchero went off for 21 points, five rebounds and two assists, despite coming on and going out with cramps. Holmgren had a modest 16 points, seven boards, and three blocks, but it was clear Banchero wanted to dominate this match.

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Fans should be excited to see what this head-to-head race looks like on an NBA floor.

Paolo Banchero vs Jabari Smith Jr.

First date: Nov 7 – Rockets at Magic

Up until minutes before the 2022 NBA draft, all signs pointed to Magic picking Smith as the No. 1 overall pick. When Orlando Banchero listened with the top pick instead, it immediately gave us fans “calendar circling” material.

We got a preview of when the top two contenders went head-to-head in the Summer League, and Banchero won that head-to-head as well. He had 17 points, six assists and four rebounds while Smith had a quiet 10 points and seven rebounds.

Expect Smith to have a chip on her shoulder for her first real showdown in the NBA.

Chet Holmgren vs. Jabari Smith Jr.

First date: Nov 26 – Rockets at Thunder (NBA TV)

And of course we had to round out the head-to-head race between all three top picks. As Smith passed on at No. 1, the Thunder never gave up their faith in Holmgren. The Gonzaga product was her type, and it immediately dropped Smith to #3.

This is another chip on my shoulder game for Smith, who had to hear two names before being called out on draft night. Add to that the fact that we get other rookie matchups like Jalen Williams and Tari Eason and a second duel between Jalen Green and Josh Giddey and this competition will showcase a lot of young talent.

Jaden Ivey vs. Keegan Murray

First date: November 20 – Pistons at Kings

Many expected the Kings to pick Ivey at number 4, but Sacramento went against the grain and picked Murray instead. Though Ivey looked NBA-ready in his only Summer League game before an injury, the Kings appear to have landed the right man for their current roster.

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Murray became the Summer League MVP, averaging 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in four games. He looked polished and ready to make a difference. Meanwhile, Ivey will try to prove the Kings wrong for passing him on.

Get ready for a battle between these two future stars.

Paolo Banchero vs. Keegan Murray

First date: Nov 5 – Kings at Magic

If Banchero had played in every Summer League game, he could have made Murray Summer League MVP. These two power forwards both put on a show in Las Vegas, and this has a Scottie Barnes vs. Evan Mobley-esque feel to the 2022 NBA draft class.

Don’t be surprised if this duel turns into a fight for Rookie of the Year.

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Jaden Ivey vs Bennedict Mathurin

First date: October 22 – Pistons at Pacers

Two of the best guards in the 2022 NBA draft class go head-to-head in this duel, and there will be no shortage of fireworks. Both players are energetic and explosive with the ability to rip off the rim when attacking the basket. Mathurin will try to prove he’s the top guard in that class while Ivey will try to protect that hypothetical crown.

Prepare your popcorn for it.

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Chet-Holmgren-Jalen-Duren FTR

Chet Holmgren vs. Jalen Duren

First date: November 7th – Thunder at Pistons

NBA draft junkies got a treat when Holmgren and Duren went head-to-head in the NCAA tournament. As you now know, Holmgren’s biggest blow to the NBA was his thin stature. As for Duren, he was undoubtedly the most physically gifted prospect in this class.

And even when those two attributes clashed, it was Holmgren who handled the business in the head-to-head meeting to climb into the Sweet 16.

Both players dealt foul problems, which diluted the matchup a bit, but Holmgren held strong against Duren’s strength and counted four blocks. Duren’s physicality overwhelmed Holmgren on a few occasions, but he ended up with just seven points and seven rebounds.

Expect Duren to come back with a vengeance here.

Bennedict Mathurin vs. Shaedon Sharpe

First date: December 4 – Pacers at Trail Blazers (NBA TV)

Take two Canadians center Phase in this when Mathurin and Sharpe face off for the first time.

Sharpe will already have several NBA games under his belt before this matchup begins, but it will still be exciting to see him take on his compatriot as he and Mathurin battle it out to be the best young Canadian guard.

As two ultra-competitive players with electrifying athleticism, there should be plenty of highlights to come out of this one.

Dyson Daniels vs Jaden Hardy

First date: 25 Oct – Mavericks at Pelicans (TNT)

The first duel between two former G League Ignite teammates.

Hardy was the senior recruit the Ignite had landed last season, but Daniels eventually heard his name called several places ahead of Hardy, who fell in the second round.

Daniels is known for his defense and Hardy is known for his prolific goals that make for the perfect clash of skills. After a long season of games and practice, add in familiarity with each other’s playstyle and this matchup should be fun.

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