Tuesday was schedule day in the NBA as the public got a look for the first time at how the upcoming NBA season will play out on the calender.
Let’s dive right in.
Most Promising Home Stand: March 22-30
If the Bucks are healthy and making a push towards the playoffs, their best chance at making a run will start here. Beginning on Monday the 22 with the Hawks, the Bucks have zero back to backs on the home stand and take on (in order) Philadelphia, Miami, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers. Each game should be winnable and they will be crucial as they come after a three game western road trip.
This home stand narrowly edged out a monster six game one a mere five games into the season. That should give the Bucks a terrific opportunity to get the season started off in the right way. The Nuggets and Mavericks will offer the most challenge on this stand, but you never know what you’ll get out of the Warriors and the Nets proved troublesome last year. If Ramon Sessions does end up on the Knicks he won’t have to wait long to revisit Milwaukee, as the Knicks kick this home stand off on November 7.
Most Promising Month: March
That three game western road trip I just alluded to? Clippers, Kings and Nuggets. Not all together terrifying. Before those three games come home games against Cleveland, Boston, Utah and Indiana. Three tough match-ups, but home games are home games, and if you remember the Bucks did sneak out a victory against Boston at home last year. March features ten home games for the Bucks to only five roadies. Like I said before, if the Bucks are still in the hunt for the eight seed in the East, they’ll have a shot at separating themselves from the pack in March.
Most Difficult Road Trip: January 10-18
Ah, the annual swing out West. I’d guess a lot of people are circling their western trip on the calender today. The Bucks have it especially rough, as theirs features two back to backs including one back end in Phoenix, where the Bucks haven’t won in over 20 years. The Bucks zip all over the West starting on the 10th and going from L.A. (Lakers) to Phoenix, Portland, Golden State, Utah and finally finishing in Houston. A 2-4 record here would likely salvage the trip.
Most Difficult Month: February
Actually it will likely be nice for the team to be able to avoid one of the worst winter months in Wisconsin, so maybe it isn’t all that bad. They certainly will spend a lot of time out of state in February with nine road games to five home games. This month also includes six back to backs and closes and opens with three game road trips that center around the Atlantic Division. The month starts at Miami, Orlando and New York and finishes with games at Indiana, Miami and Atlanta.
Back to Back’s: 22
Remember that heavy back to back schedule I just mentioned in February? Well that’s a microcosm of the season. The Bucks are one of nine teams with 22 or more back to backs. Oddly enough, they had 22 back to backs last year as well. One significant difference in them though, is that none of last year’s back to backs were part of a six game roadie out West. I’m a little more scared of that trip than I was ten minutes ago. 1-5 is now looking good. My most likely sweepable back to back? February 5-6 at New York and home against Indiana. My most likely to be swept back to back? January 10-11 at L.A. (Lakers) and at Phoenix.
National Television Games: 0
No big surprise here. The Bucks were one of five teams to get the cold shoulder from the NBA, along with Houston (No Yao means no TV), New Jersey, Sacramento and Charlotte. So the league likely expects plenty of good seats November 20 when the Bobcats come to town and December 19 when Sacramento comes calling. The Bucks do have a measly one game on NBA TV, a November 16 affair with the Mavericks at the Bradley Center. I guess you have to start somewhere, right?
I was holding out hope that interest in Brandon Jennings wild ride might lead to one game breaking the TV barrier, but then I remembered the only game the Bucks had on ESPN last year was taken off the air in favor of a dog show or something. The upside of no national television games is a lack of Sunday games. The Bucks have to get up early only five times this year. Compare that to the Lakers and their 16 and you probably have a few guys happy to be in Milwaukee. Especially since the night life in the balmy Milwaukee winters can get so wild.
Thank you, I’ll be here all night.
Last but not least, opening night is October 31. Halloween. Come dressed as your favorite Buck and maybe you’ll get on television.
Just not nationally.