ESPN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NBA regular season tips off next week with five opening week games, new shows and dozens of the industry’s top NBA commentators. ESPN’s first doubleheader of the regular season is Wednesday, Oct. 17, as the Houston Rockets and James Harden host the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis at 8 p.m. ET, with Mark Jones, analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Israel Gutierrez providing commentary. In the nightcap, Phoenix Suns and top NBA Draft pick Deandre Ayton host the Dallas Mavericks and third NBA Draft pick Luka Doncic at 10:30 p.m. with Dave Pasch, analyst Mark Jackson and reporter Jorge Sedano on the call.
On Friday, Oct. 19, two Eastern Conference heavyweights collide as the Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving visit the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard at 8 p.m. Ryan Ruocco will provide commentary with analyst and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown. At 10:30 p.m., the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant visit the Utah Jazz and Donovan Mitchell. Mike Breen, analyst and 2018 Curt Gowdy Media Award winner Doris Burke will have the call with Jorge Sedano reporting. ESPN Radio will also broadcast the Warriors opener as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 10:30 p.m. Marc Kestecher and analyst Jon Barry will describe the action.
LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers home-opener
The five-game opening week slate culminates on Saturday, Oct. 20, when ESPN nationally televises LeBron James’ home-opener with the Los Angeles Lakers as they host the Houston Rockets and James Harden at 10:30 p.m. The NBA Finals broadcast team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Doris Burke will call the action. The NBA Countdown’s pre-game and halftime shows, as well as the NBA After The Buzzer post-game show, will emanate from just outside of the Staples Center at Chick Hearn Ct. All ESPN NBA game and studio programming is also available to stream on the ESPN App.
NBA Countdown will generally lead into ESPN NBA game coverage with a one-hour pre-game show hosted by Michelle Beadle and featuring analysts Jalen Rose, Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups. The quartet returns for its second season together. NBA Countdown will air at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 and Friday, Oct. 19, and at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.
NBA Courtside, NBA After the Buzzer make regular season debuts
This season, ESPN has added two new 15-minute shows to its coverage lineup, including a tipoff show immediately following NBA Countdown called NBA Courtside. It will be hosted by the game commentators from the site of the evening’s first game telecast. NBA After The Buzzer – ESPN’s first NBA post-game show – will air immediately following ESPN’s final game telecast of the evening. The NBA Countdown team, led by Michelle Beadle, will host NBA After The Buzzer.
The Jump, hosted by Rachel Nichols, continues to air Monday through Friday with a 30-minute show Mondays on ESPN2 and 60-minute shows Tuesday through Friday on ESPN. The Jump documents the NBA with its elite and diverse array of analysts, writers and special guests. Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Tracy McGrady and Scottie Pippen, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Zach Lowe, and special guest Juju Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers will join Nichols during the week.
ESPN will also air several conversations with top NBA stars, conducted by Rachel Nichols. She sat down with Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler for pieces that are airing within SportsCenter and The Jump, and will be accessible on ESPN.com.
Additionally, ESPN will also have 14 NBA reporters strategically positioned around the league next week to document the start of the season. ESPN NBA commentators Richard Jefferson, Tim Legler, Byron Scott, Adrian Wojnarowski and Chiney Oqwumike will also contribute to ESPN studio coverage during the week.
ESPN+’s NBA: Year One has returned for a second season with the first two episodes available now exclusively on ESPN+. NBA: Year One documents the rookie experiences of the top six 2018 NBA Draft selections.