Hey, everybody! Do you like the Minnesota Timberwolves? Do you like it when the Minnesota Timberwolves play games? What if I were to tell you that they’re scheduled to play 82 games this season and that schedule is out. Is that something you’d be interested in?
The NBA released the schedule for all 30 teams and all 1,230 regular season games for the 2013-14 season and it looks spectacular. It looks spectacular because it means we’re getting more basketball, starting on October 29th when the Chicago Bulls open up against the Miami Heat as they raise their second straight banner and the Los Angeles Clippers face Kobe Bryant (maybe) and the Los Angeles Lakers (definitely and hilariously). But you don’t care about those games.
Let’s discuss the Wolves and their upcoming schedule. Here’s my breakdown of what’s going on this season:
For the 13th straight season, the Minnesota Timberwolves will open the regular season at home. This time, they’ll be facing the Orlando Magic, who may already be tanking for the 2014 Draft when Andrew Wiggins and friends floods the NBA with superstar talent. Except, I wouldn’t pencil this in as a win just yet. I know the Magic look like they suck on the surface, but they actually have a pretty dangerous team if healthy. Last year, they were a decent team (13-21) before Glen Davis went down with a foot injury. After that, they fell apart.
I think this year, they’ll be ready to go with their good frontline (Nikola Vucevic, Glen Davis, Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, et al.) and Victor Oladipo in the backcourt. We’ll get to see right away how serious the Wolves are about beating teams they’re better than, which is something a playoff team needs to do a lot.
Nationally televised games for the Wolves
Friday, 11/15: Wolves at Nuggets on ESPN.
Wednesday, 12/4: Spurs at Wolves on NBA TV.
Monday, 12/16: Wolves at Celtics on NBA TV.
Friday, 12/20: Wolves at Lakers on ESPN.
Friday, 12/27: Wizards at Wolves on NBA TV.
Friday, 1/24: Wolves at Warriors on NBA TV.
Saturday, 1/25: Wolves at Blazers on NBA TV.
Monday, 1/27: Wolves at Bulls on NBA TV.
Friday, 2/7: Wolves at Pelicans on ESPN.
Monday, 2/10: Rockets at Wolves on NBA TV.
Wednesday, 2/19: Pacers at Wolves on ESPN.
Wednesday, 3/5: Knicks at Wolves on ESPN.
Sunday, 4/14: Wolves at Warriors on NBA TV.
That’s 13 games on nationally televised TV (if you count NBA TV) for the Wolves this year. Eight games are on NBA TV, five games are on ESPN, and zero games on TNT. That sounds about right for this team, even with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio on the roster. For midwestern teams that are in medium-to-small markets, you’ve got to prove you’re really good/exciting in order to secure more televised games. The Wolves have proven neither yet, at least not on a national scale.
I was hoping for four nationally televised games for the Wolves this year and we’re getting five. I’m happy with that for now.
By my count, it looks like the Wolves will have 20 sets of back-to-back games. Here is the breakdown of when they occur by month (back-to-backs that carry over into next month will be counted for the second month):
November: 5 (at Knicks-at Cavs, at Lakers-at Clippers, at Denver-Boston, at Wizards-Clippers, Nets-at Rockets)
December: 4 (at Mavs-at Thunder, at Pistons-Sixers, at Grizzlies-at Celtics, Wizards-at Bucks)
January: 2 (at Raptors-Jazz, at Warriors-at Blazers)
February: 4 (Grizzles-at Hawks, Lakers-at Thunder, at Pelicans-Blazers, at Jazz-at Blazers)
March: 3 (at Mavs-at Rockets, Suns-at Grizzlies, at Nets-Clippers)
April: 2 (at Heat-at Magic, at Kings-at Warriors)
I haven’t compared this to the other teams around the league, but 20 sets of back-to-back games sounds like a lot to me. Also, 29 of those 40 games will be played on the road. Again, not sure how this stacks up to the rest of the league but it sounds tough.
Four games in five nights
November 19-23: At Wizards then home for the Clippers, day off, and then home for the Nets before at Rockets
February 4-8: Home for the Lakers then at Thunder, day off, and then at Pelicans before home for the Blazers
I looked over the schedule a couple of times and only came up with two instances of four games in five nights. I feel like that’s unseasonably low and just assume I missed something on the spreadsheet.
One thing I find interesting is when your home and away games come in relation to what part of the season we’re in. So let’s take a look at that:
First half: 21* home games, 20 away games
Second half: 20 home games, 21 away games
October/November: 9 home games, 9 away games
December: 6* home games, 8 away games
January: 8 home games, 7 away games
February: 5 home games, 6 away games
March: 9 home games, 7 away games
April: 4 home games, 4 away games
( * – Wolves home game against the Spurs is actually in Mexico City)
Actually, it’s pretty even throughout the course of the season, which is good because last year the Denver Nuggets had a road-heavy schedule to begin the year and suffered a little bit getting out of the gates. I’d rather have it even than lopsided.
If I missed anything of note or screwed up any of the numbers (I know at least one of you will check the math), feel free to drop it in the comments and I’ll update. Also, what games are you looking forward to the most?