On Tuesday night, the NBA revealed the specific days on which Philadelphia will be attempting to rack up its losses this season; full schedule is listed here: http://www.nba.com/sixers/schedule. Opening night for the Sixers is Wednesday, October 30, against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, as the NBA must have decided to ease Philadelphia into their tanking philosophy with a sure-fire loss. Philadelphia will also close the season against the defending champions, playing in Miami Wednesday, April 16. It’s possible Miami and Philadelphia will have the first and worst records locked up by that time and the Sixers can go for a win against the Heat reserves. Wouldn’t that be delightful?
Ironically, Miami is one of the four Eastern Conference teams the Sixers will play just three times, with the others being Indiana, Atlanta, and Milwaukee (they face other Eastern Conference four times, and all Western Conference teams twice). It’s not the ideal scenario for tanking as Miami and Indiana figure to be among the top teams in the league and ideally, the Sixers would face the better teams the most. However, the Sixers will play 20 back-to-backs this season, after playing just 17 each of the past two seasons. The number of back-to-backs in the league range from 14 to 21 so Philadelphia finds itself on the right end of that spectrum as far as accruing losses is concerned.
Befitting their station as projected bottom-dweller, the Sixers will play in just one nationally televised game: Saturday, November 2nd, at home against Chicago on NBATV. So fans won’t have the opportunity to listen to the Chuckwagon talk about what a joke the team is, which is unfortunate, although it’s probably for the best to limit the team’s exposure as much as possible. The only afternoon games for the team are Sunday, December 1, at Detroit, and a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day match-up in Washington on Monday, January 20.
Other key dates on the schedule include the annual Disney on Ice road trip that takes the team through Milwaukee, Phoenix, Los Angeles (against the Lakers), Denver (on New Year’s Day), Sacramento, and Portland. Fans can also circle some dates in which to see some prominent former Sixers in action.
On Friday, November 8th, Philadelphia bowling alleys should expect some added revenue as Andrew Bynum’s Cavaliers come to town. If the hobbled one suits up for Cleveland, it will be the first time Bynum takes the floor at the Wells Fargo Center, despite earning almost $17 million as a member of the Sixers. On a less cynical note, Jrue Holiday will make his Philadelphia return with the new-look Pelicans on Friday, November 29. This contest will be one of the few games that the Sixers would benefit from winning, as Philadelphia hopes the New Orleans draft pick they own ends up in the lottery. Finally, former franchise cornerstone Andre Iguodala joins Seth Curry and the revamped Warriors in Philadelphia on Monday, November 4. Iguodala should thrive playing alongside a bevy of outstanding outside shooters in Curry, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes.
Less than three months until first tip-off, the Sixers project to be on the wrong end of many of these contests. The plan is in place, though, so fans should take the time to watch the growth of the Sixers’ young players, and get a first-hand look at the NBA’s best across the league.