Thoughts and Takeaways from the Sixers 2018-19 Schedule

The Sixers will have a lot of games on National TV. Some thoughts and takeaways from the schedule release.

At this time last year, the Sixers were entering the season with a lot of potential, hypotheticals, and theoreticals. Coming off 28 wins in the 2016-17 season, the NBA made a bet on the Sixers' upside, giving the team 23 national television games in 2017-18. The bet paid off, and the Sixers caught the attention of NBA fans by winning 52 games. As a result, the team will have more televised games this season.

The schedule was released on Friday and obviously, there are some slight differences from last season's schedule. Here are some key notes and impressions from the schedule release. 

27 games will be featured on ESPN, TNT, and ABC, and 12 games will also be on NBA TV

The Sixers will have 39 games broadcasted on national TV (if you count NBA TV) and for good reason. Two budding superstars, the intrigue surrounding Markelle Fultz, and the fact that the Sixers are primed to be contenders in a post-LeBron James Eastern Conference for years to come. The NBA is invested in reviving the Sixers/Celtics rivalry, as all four games will be on National TV. The two games in Boston will be on TNT on October 16th and on the Christmas Day plater, two of the landmark days on the NBA schedule. The two games in Philly will be February 12th on TNT and March 20th on ESPN.

Sixers will have 13 sets of back-to-back games

The NBA is continuing its efforts to reduce the workload for teams. They've eliminated 4 games in 5 nights and reduced the average amount of back-to-backs to 13.3, which is a historical low for the NBA. The Sixers have 13 back-to-backs, which is a hair under that mark and one less than the 14 the team had last season. This is important because Joel Embiid was cleared to play back-to-backs last February, and the fewer back-to-backs, the better.

The start of the schedule is much more kind than last season's

The first 25 games will be a bit easier than the gauntlet they had to start last season. The Sixers will be on the road 8 times in the first 15 games, as opposed to 10 out of 15 last season, and 16 out of the first 25 games will be against teams who didn't make the playoffs. While the Cavs made the playoffs last year, they lost a top 2 player in NBA history, so you could very well add them to that list. The last part of the Sixers schedule looks to be as ripe with wins as it was last season -- 10 out of the last 15 games will be against teams who didn't make the playoffs. It seems that the meat of the schedule will be from December 17th to March 10th, and there is a stretch from January 17th to February 12th where the Sixers will be on National TV for 10 out of the 12 games.

A lot of intriguing matchups based on pettiness and actual star power

Like last season both games against the Thunder will be on National TV, capitalizing on the Westbrook/Embiid beef. The Sixers will also be in Utah on December 27th on TNT. Ben Simmons will be sure to be met with boos from salty Jazz fans who thought Donovan Mitchell should've won Rookie of the Year. All three games against the Milwaukee Bucks will be on National TV, and Ben Simmons/Joel Embiid vs Giannis will be fun to watch. (People are sleeping on the Bucks because they actually have a good coach and not...Jason Kidd or Joe Prunty). Both games against the LeBron led-Lakers --wow, that was incredibly weird to type out-- will be on National TV as well. Embiid had his coming out party in Staples Center, and Brandon Ingram broke the hearts of many Sixer fans in Philly with a game-winning three-pointer. With LeBron added to the mix, it's certainly going to add more intrigue to those matchups.

It seems that the Sixers should be primed for a faster start now that the players have played together, learned how to finish games, and have had the taste of playoff experience. But a lot of NBA teams have made improvements to their rosters, so it will be interesting to see how the season shakes out.

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