The Lakers were on national television a lot last season despite the fact they were a rebuilding 35-win team with some interesting young players, but ones still figuring out how to play NBA basketball.
Add LeBron James and…
The Lakers have more nationally televised games than any team in the NBA this season.
Friday the NBA released its full schedule, and that included all the nationally televised games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. Add them all up and here are the top five teams you will see the most this season:
1. Los Angeles Lakers (43 games)
2. Golden State Warriors (40)
3 (tie). Boston Celtics (39)
3 (tie). Philadelphia 76ers (39)
3 (tie). Houston Rockets (39)
Just behind all of them, the Oklahoma City Thunder have 36. Every other team is in the 20s or below (Cleveland has the fewest).
Complain if you wish, but this is simply a case of giving the people what they want — the Lakers are a draw, LeBron is a draw, combine them and they are a force of nature in terms of ratings. All the other teams at the top make sense as well, big markets with big stars and they are elite teams.
Why not the Toronto Raptors as much, an elite and entertaining team that won 59 games last season and now added Kawhi Leonard? They draw good television ratings, it’s just that the vast majority of their fan base is in Canada, so it doesn’t count for U.S. ratings. In the end, it’s about ratings and money. Always. LeBron delivers that.