It’s a sign of respect. And it shows popularity. But ultimately, it shows the ability to draw ratings.
One of the key questions when a new NBA schedule comes out is “how many times is a team on national television? And I’m not talking NBA TV picking up the local broadcast, I mean on one of the key national partners of the league — TNT, ESPN or ABC. A team can be on up to 25 times a season.
The Heat, Thunder and Knicks are the three teams that reach that 25 limit. It makes a lot of sense in the case of the Heat and Thunder, who met in the finals and have two of the biggest stars in the game in LeBron James and Kevin Durant. People tune in to watch them play.
The Knicks? They reach the max in part because New York is a huge market and draw, and part because their combination of star players is potentially combustible. They will be a good team and likely one with drama around it. And drama sells.
The Lakers will have 24 nationally televised games, which is not a surprise. After that your next two teams you expect to see on the list because they are good and have big followings: The Boston Celtics (19) and the Chicago Bulls (19). After that it slips down to teams like the Spurs (16) and the Clippers (13).
Among the evolution is seeing the Suns drop off the map without Steve Nash while the Pacers, after their strong playoff showings, are up to 7 nationally televised games.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.