Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Obligatory Schedule Announcement Post

Posted By on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 9:31 PM

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The NBA released its schedule for the 2013-2014 season earlier this evening. I'm not going to waste too much time and space “breaking it down.” You can see the full Grizzlies schedule here. (I'm using ESPN.com rather than the team's own site, because the latter doesn't have the national television info there yet.)

A few quick observations, though:

Notable games/sections

Opener: Wednesday, October 30th — at San Antonio

Home Opener: Friday, November 1st — vs. Detroit

Rudy Gay Return: Wednesday, November 13th

MLK Day: Monday, January 20th — vs. New Orleans

Miami game: Wednesday, April 9th

Four-game West Coast trip: November 15-20

Four-game homestand: January 7-14

Five-game West road trip: March 26-April 2

Six-game homestand: November 30-December 11


National Television Games:

Friday, November 22nd — vs. San Antonio (ESPN)

Thursday, December 26th — at Houston (TNT)

Friday, March 7th — at Chicago (ESPN)

Wednesday, March 26th — at Utah (ESPN)

Friday, April 4th — vs. Denver (ESPN)

Wednesday, April 9th — vs. Miami (ESPN)

There are another seven games on NBATV, making a total of 13 nationally televised games. That's down from 16 last season despite the Grizzlies winning 56 games, making the Western Conference Finals, seeing a home attendance bump, and bringing back a stronger roster, at least on paper. Lesson here: National television schedulers don't care about any of that. Market size and “stars” are all that matter.

For comparison's sake, the number of national TV games for the six projected Western conference contenders:

Thunder: 30
Clippers: 29
Rockets: 26
Warriors: 26
Spurs: 21
Grizzlies: 13

Most egregious is that the team's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day game has been relegated to NBATV this year. Off the top of my head, I think this is a first. I can't remember that game ever not being on one of the primary national outlets.

Competitive Impact

The schedules tend to be pretty uniform, and I don't think back-to-back differences and travel disparities have much impact. As for opponent differences among the contenders — each team plays three games against four conference opponents and four games against each of the rest — the Grizzlies and the Rockets probably come out the worst here, each losing only one game against another contender (the Griz play only three agaisnt the Clippers) while losing two games to bottom-tier teams (Griz lose games to the Jazz and Kings). Getting the most help are the Warriors, who play a full complement of games against the Jazz/Suns/Kings/Lakers (that's right, Lakers) while saving two games against fellow contenders.

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