The NBA national TV schedule has a few surprises, some expected consistency, and an indication of how of they market their teams. This is the second season I’ve compiled this, and I compared the number of televised games to last season’s.
Chicago – After not playing the entire season, Derrick Rose and the Bulls ties with the Knicks to lead the league with 33 games (up from 26). Seems the schedulers really took Rose’ claim to heart that he’s the best player in the NBA.
New York – The Knicks hold steady with 33, up one from last season. The leagues’s biggest media market plus the most prolific scorer in Carmelo Anthony is no surprise here.
OKC – The Thunder hold steady at 30 games, same as least season. Nothing to see here.
LA Clippers – With two of the league’s most marketable stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin plus some nifty off-season additions, the Clippers drop four games to 29.
LA Lakers – Assuming Kobe returns for Opening Day, they tie their crosstown rivals with 29—though they have five more ABC games to the Clippers two.
Miami – Low and behold, LeBron and the mighty Heat have seven less games this season for a total of 27, compared to last season’s league leading 34. Considering they have the most marketable star since Jordan, won the championship in the last two seasons, and appeared in the Finals in the last three, there is no logical explanation for this. At least they’re tied with the Knicks with six ABC games.
Houston – The power of Dwight Howard upped the Rockets to 26 games—20 more than last season! Keep in mind, that schedule was made before they acquired James Harden.
Brooklyn – Add a pinch of Paul Pierce, and a dash of Kevin Garnett, and the Nets get eight more games to a total of 26. Though ABC, does not give them any love whatsoever.
Golden State – Nothing like the sweet-shooting Steph Curry to up the Warriors’ games to 26—11 more than last year.
San Antonio – Despite reaching the NBA Finals, the Spurs drop three games to 21, one of which are on ABC (rematch with the Heat). I get that most people aren’t fans of watching classic big men like Tim Duncan, but didn’t Tony Parker reach a level that deserves more than this? Not according to the schedulers.
Denver – Despite losing Andre Iguoladala and not gaining much else, the Nuggets hold steady at 20—just one more from last year.
Indiana – Let’s see. Despite the Pacers reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, pushing the eventual champion Heat to seven games, and producing a near superstar in Paul George, they are merely rewarded with five more games from last year to 17. They have no ABC appearances, and just two TNT ones. Seems they have to resurrect a 1994 Reggie Miller to match the big markets.
Dallas – Marc Cuban’s plan of continuing to be somewhat competitive by supporting Dirk with Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon isn’t exactly what the schedulers thought national audiences want to see. The Mavs drop 10 to a mere 14 games this year. No ABC appearances and three on TNT.
Memphis – The locals and hardcore NBA fanatics may love “Grit and Grind”, but despite reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Grizzlies remain steady (down one) at 14 games. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol deserve a lot more love.
Minnesota – Until Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio can stay healthy, the Wolves will remain steady (down one) at 13 games, without any attention from TNT.
Portland – Rookie of the year Damian Lillard was not enough to give the Blazers many national appearances. They’re down three at 11.
Cleveland – Superstar-in-the-making Kyrie Irving had enough clout to bring the Cavs national appearances from four to nine, including one TNT and three on ESPN!
Boston – Rajon Rondo himself may have arguably been the best Celtic these past few seasons, but with the absence of Pierce and Garnett, they have a pathetic total of six games—three of which are on ESPN. The other three are on NBA TV.
Atlanta – Three ESPN, and three NBA TV appearances—same as last year.
New Orleans – The potential power trio of Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Eric Gordon is not enough to convince the schedulers to bring the Pelicans to the rest of the country. Six total games, which is three less than last year.
Sacramento – The potential stardom of DeMarcus Cousins was not enough for the schedulers many appearances to the Kings. Six total games—one ESPN and five NBA TV.
Washington – The promising backcourt duo of John Wall and Brad Beal have inched the Wiz up three games from last year to a total of six, one of which is on ESPN.
Utah – The tanking Jazz have only five total games this year—an eleven game drop from last season, (three ESPN, two NBA TV).
Phoenix – Suns also have five games which is down one from last season.
Milwaukee – Signing O.J. Mayo and losing Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings actually incrementally increased the Bucks appearances to five—up two from last year.
Orlando – The post Dwight Howard era continues to be difficult as the Magic have only four national appearances.
Detroit – The additions of Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and the development of Andre Drummond has only inched the Pistons appearances up by two games to a total of four.
Charlotte – The lowly Bobcats have only two national games—both on NBA TV.
Philadelphia – The Sixers tank job have earned them a grand total of one national game on NBA TV.
Toronto – Only one game also for the Raptors—also on NBA TV.