The NBA released the schedule for the 2017-18 regular season on Monday, and the summer of good news and the build up of hype for the Sixers seem to have caught the ear of the league office. There will be a healthy slate of games on national TV, and it comes as a bit of a pleasant surprise considering where the team has been the last few years. Not that this writer is complaining, of course. This is great for the team and the fans. I certainly thought the team would have some national TV games this year, but it is the number of games that is somewhat shocking.
Here is a brief Schedule Breakdown.
- 23 National TV games. Nine games on ESPN, five on TNT, and nine on NBA TV.
- 14 sets of back-to-back games. This very important to know if you want to buy tickets to see Joel Embiid play.
- The Sixers will have a Christmas Day road game against the New York Knicks. Christmas day has been a marquee event for the NBA.
- Opening Day will be October 18th on the road against the Washington Wizards.
- October 20th will be the Home Opener against the Boston Celtics.
- On January 11th the Sixers and Boston Celtics will play in London (It counts as a home game for the Sixers)
- The Sixers will open the season playing 10 of their first 15 games on the road.
- The NBA is capitalizing on the unexpected beef that developed over the summer between the Sixer players and the Big Baller brand. The Lakers and the Sixers will play their two matchups on national TV--November 15th at the Staples Center on ESPN and December 7th in Philly on TNT. Side note: the Lakers will have 35 nationally televised games. I know it's the Lakers, and Lonzo Ball is certainly a draw for the national audience, but this team is going to have a tough time breaking 25 wins...
- January 20th the Sixers will face off against the Milwaukee Bucks for the first time at the Wells Fargo Center. This is also known as the Malcolm Brogdon game because Sixer fans will be showering the "Rookie of the Year" with a lot of boos.
- 14 of the 23 national TV games will be against teams that made the playoffs in 2016-17.
- First overall pick Markelle Fultz will potentially face John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul in four of the first five games. Welcome to the NBA.
- For the first time in NBA history, no team will be subjected to playing four games in five nights.
I should also note that while the schedule release is no doubt exciting, factors like health, flex games, and unforeseen circumstances -- like last year's Kings/Sixers game that had to be rescheduled because of a slippery court will change the impact and value of games for prospective ticket buyers. So plan accordingly.