On August 12th, the NBA released it’s schedule for the upcoming 2016/17 Season.
In our first TFFP discussion, we will take a look at the 1 matchup we are all looking forward to the most and highlight some other games of interest. Also, our thoughts on what the NBA might have got wrong this time around.
David Nash: Alright guys, I’ve had a few days to digest the schedule and from a Phoenix perspective it’s not too bad. Or at least what I expected. We start (and end) the season against Sacramento, which I think will set the tone for the year. Whilst I don’t have great hopes for the year, these are the types of games I think we should be winning. We got rightly shafted again with National TV appearances & have 11 of our first 16 on the road, which doesn’t bode well. No 4 game in 5 nights though, which is nice for the young roster but I’m not sure when I will get to see the Suns on Xmas Day again. Finally, we are off to Mexico for 2 home games which is fun and strengthens our ties with the Latin community despite the city we reside in not doing the same.
Put your homer hats on for a second, how does the schedule look?
Linton Dowling: Shafted? Nuggets have 3 nationally televised games all season. Three, one on ESPN, two on TNT. Our schedule starts off pretty horrifically, with five of our first seven games on the road. Our schedule is what i expected, tough start and tough finish (five of our last seven games are on the road, two against OKC)
Again 3 nationally televised TV games. I hope our young kids can show early why they are a team to watch.
Sam Eley: The Heat open their season in the Magic Kingdom versus a weird Orlando team, which will be an interesting test first up. The saddest thing for me is the lack of an Xmas day game (I know I know, waaa waaa). Having been a fixture on Xmas day for near on a decade, it kinda sucks to not be playing on the NBA’s marquee day…but I guess that’s what happens when Wade goes and CB is a giant question mark.
As seems to be standard, we have a 6 game, 10 day road trip in early January that always proves a challenge, and a 4-in-5 night road trip in early February that will be right around the time we shut it down for the season. Nobody (alright, outside of Hinkie) tanks harder than Pat Riley (hi Kasib Powell and Blake Ahearn).
Xander Hamilton-Reeves: I LOL’d hard when I saw the Dubs posting about how many miles they will travel this season. Bitch please. Portland will once again travel more miles than every other team, and it looks like it is more than last year, when they also lead the league. Other than that, it’s actually pretty good. Less-back-to-backs (15) and 4-in-5s (1) than last year, and we are up to 23 National TV games (14 on TNT/ESPN). We have a tough opening week except for the Nuggets (hi Linton), and somehow get 7 road-road b2bs and no home-home’s. FEB/MARCH will be make or break for the Rose City, but we finish with 10 of our final 12 at home.
DN: Someone needs to Photoshop Bosh as a literal giant question mark. Ok, looking at the rest of my roster there are quite a few match-ups that I am looking forward to seeing but can’t go past Russell taking on the Warriors. We are getting the maximum 4 games, the first of which is just a week into the season and the last pretty late on in OKC. I wouldn’t call myself a Westbrook cheerleader at all but I just don’t think I am going to be able to stop myself from hoping that he single handedly goes HAM on the new Warriors at least once. If that can be Game 1 on November 4 at Oracle, then that would be even better!
What’s the ONE matchup from your roster that can’t be missed?
LD: If Wade’s knees can hold up I think its the Bulls v Knicks. I am a bit surprised this wasn’t a Christmas day game, however the plus side being we get to see it earlier on 4th November. There are storylines galore, Jimmy vs. Rose, Wade vs. Melo, Rose vs. Rondo. However it is the super egos of Butler, Rondo, Wade, Melo and Rose that will make the headlines, hopefully both on and off the court.Who knows, maybe Melo will drop the ‘3 to the head’ gesture again or Jimmy will continue to blame Rose for his lack of touches. Either way one of these teams will be a mess (cough Bulls) and who doesn’t enjoy watching a good train wreck.
SE: As the resident Heat fan, seeing Wade back at the triple A in Bulls colours will be a giant kick to the balls. Watching every game of Wade’s career from 2003 until now has been an epic journey, and I’m expecting an all in love fest from the Heat family. Part of me wants him to wind back the clock, drop 40 and jump on the scorers table with a “this is my house”!…the other part of me wants to see him fail and for Miami to crush those scummy Bulls (still laughing at Rondo and Wade in the backcourt – those two HATE each other!).
XHR: There are a few match ups that make for interesting viewing on my list, but for pyrotechnics alone you can’t pass Portland Vs Golden State. Their 2nd round series was very competitive aside from Game 1, and they had some hugely entertaining games during the 4 game series in the regular season. Add in some bad blood from Klay for Lillard getting the 2nd All NBA nod over him, the “disrespect” the Dubs felt when Dame went for 50, Festus Ezeli facing his former team and Lillard playing his home team (he is from Oakland). Must watch basketball.
DN: What are a couple of others from your roster you can’t wait to see?
- Dwight Vs The Rockets (First time: Nov 5 @ATL)
- Teague Vs Schroder (Nov 23 @IND)
- Warriors Vs Cavaliers (Dec 25 @CLE)
- Malone’s Nuggets Vs Vivek’s Kings (Jan 3 @DEN)
- Horford Vs The Hawks (Jan 13 @ATL)
- Barnes & Bogut Vs The Warriors (Nov 9 @GSW)
- Simmons Vs Ingram (Dec 16 @PHI)
- The Brow and the Pels Vs KAT and the Wolves (Feb 11 @MIN)
DN: Looks like a fair bit of player movement means a lot of grudge matches to look forward to! Next year will be even better if the Free Agent class is anything to go by.
In terms of negatives from the schedule, I have a bit of a bone to pick before it all even starts. Pre Season games. Get rid of ’em. The fact there is like 6 of them in itself is a joke but if we can’t rid ourselves of them altogether then at least reduce the amount of games. Summer League is great & then teams are in camp for an eternity. There is more to this whole discussion but if the season started when pre season games did, a) we would get real basketball almost a month sooner but B) there would be more time to fix the other issues with the 82 game season.
What didn’t you guys like about the Schedule this year or every year for that matter?
LD: Road Trips with B2Bs! I know every team has them but it doesn’t lead to quality basketball especially the 4 in 5 debacle. This may be compounded by being a Denver fan and you may not believe me, but not too long ago, the 2012-13 Nuggets won 57 games… without Melo. We won 21 straight home games. The Nuggets achieved this because so many teams were coming in having played the previous night, then having to deal with George Karl’s fast running Nugs at altitude. It was fun, then it became boring. There were so few close games. To me and I’m sure the other ‘three points’ this disadvantage takes away from competitive ball we love. Rather it should be about tough match ups, the Dubs losing to the Bucks, the Cavs taking four in a row.. It shouldn’t be dictated by horrendous schedules, B2B’s, 4 in 5’s and 82 games.
SE: I always wish there were more games on opening night. I get that night 2 has 90% of the league playing, but it kinda sucks to wait 6 months from April/May until finally getting to the end of October for NBA regular season basketball…only to get 3 measly games. And the three games are usually pretty meh! Atleast the 3 games are interesting this year, so the NBA are finally listening! (NYK @ CLE, UTA @ POR and SAS @ GSW).
XHR: Christmas games. It’s the NBA’s flagship day and they continue to force average to bad teams on us. The Lakers are playing on Christmas Day. Again. And whilst I understand that they are internationally popular, they are also likely to be terrible. Again. The Bulls, Knicks and Thunder project to at best be interestingly average (thank you RonWado, God-Mode-Westbrooke and the Artists Formally Known As Rose and Noah). The Wolves are up and comers, but horribly unproven. The game pairings make no sense outside of Cavs-Dubs. They would be better off pitting Boston against Toronto, Chicago at home to New York, Thunder/Wolves (if they insist) and Spurs Clippers to finish. And that’s if you have to stick with Chicago/OKC/NYK/MIN. Why the NBA thinks “big name franchises” over high talent/skill games is a good idea is beyond me. But at the very least, the NBA should give us a better night cap than the Clippers beating the Lakers by 30. Last year a 27-9 4th quarter meant they lost by only 10. Never mind The Clips have so many teams they don’t like now – Memphis, Portland, GSW, Houston, even Sacramento. Let us finish our Christmas Day with a real game.