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Wizards got far fewer national TV games than the NBA's marquee teams

Wizards got far fewer national TV games than the NBA's marquee teams

After winning 43 games last season and losing in the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards are seeing the effects of what amounted to a down year.

The 2018-19 NBA regular season schedule release was on Friday and, as always, people took note of which teams are playing on national TV and how often. The Wizards are very far down the list.

That is despite the fact they added Dwight Howard this offseason and despite the fact their disappointing 2017-18 season was largely due to John Wall missing 41 games. Still, the Wizards have fallen quite a bit from their standing just a year ago.

Here is the entire NBA in order from most national TV games to the fewest:

Lakers - 32
Warriors - 29
Rockets - 28
Celtics - 27
Thunder - 27
Sixers - 27
Bucks - 18
Raptors - 15
Nuggets - 14
Spurs - 13
Blazers - 13
Pelicans - 13
Timberwolves - 13
Pacers - 12
Jazz - 11
Wizards - 8
Knicks - 5
Mavericks - 5
Heat - 5
Pistons - 4
Suns - 3
Bulls - 3
Clippers - 3
Cavaliers - 2
Kings - 1
Magic - 1
Grizzlies - 1
Hornets - 1
Hawks - 1
Nets - 1


(list compiled by @JADubin5 and does not include NBATV)

As you see, the Wizards have eight total games on ESPN, TNT or ABC. They are 16th in the NBA, exactly where they finished in terms of their regular season record last season.

This is a major drop from the year before when the Wizards had 18 national TV games. That was following a 2016-17 season when they won 49 games and reached Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs. Six fewer wins and one less round in the playoffs has made the difference of 10 national TV games.

Only two teams that made the playoffs last season have fewer national TV games than the Wizards. One is the Heat, who don't have a superstar player, and the other is the Cavaliers, who still have Kevin Love but lost LeBron James to the Lakers in free agency.

Meanwhile, several teams with either equal or less starpower than the Wizards got more national TV love. The Pacers, Jazz, Pelicans, Blazers and Timberwolves are all fun to watch and have All-Stars, but the Wizards are arguably on their level in terms of player Q-rating and intrigue.

There are no surprises at the top of the list. The Lakers getting more games than anyone after signing James was to be expected. The Warriors and Rockets being up there at the top is appropriate, given they were the NBA's two best teams last season.

Beyond them, the list shows how several teams are making significant leaps in terms of their place on the national stage. The Sixers are tied for the fourth-most national TV games with 27 after their breakout year. The Bucks have 18, a sign that more and more people want to see Giannis Antetokounmpo. Also, the Nuggets at 14 national TV games is an indication of their expected rise.

For the Wizards, they have to once again prove themselves to be a marquee team. Two years ago, being overlooked seemed to work in their favor. They used it as motivation and ended up changing the narrative very quickly.

Keep in mind that national TV games can be added on the fly during the season. The Wizards earned more during the 2016-17 season and then got a ton of them for 2017-18. Given they seem to operate better as underdogs, this might end up a positive.

The other silver lining is that there will be more games on NBC Sports Washington. That means more Steve Buckhantz and Kara Lawson and greater odds for "Dagger!" calls. Surely, no one will complain about that.

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By the numbers: the Washington Wizards' 2018-19 regular season schedule

By the numbers: the Washington Wizards' 2018-19 regular season schedule

The NBA released the full, 82-game regular season schedule on Friday for the Washington Wizards. Here is a breakdown of their schedule by the numbers...

15

That's how many back-to-backs the Wizards will play this season, a few ticks up from the league average of 13.3. They have four back-to-backs in the month of March alone and a brutal stretch in late December with three back-to-backs in a span of 12 days from the 18th to the 29th.

The Wizards play the Celtics and Sixers three times apiece this season instead of four. Given those are expected to be the top two teams in the conference, that means several things. For one, they will see the best teams one less time, which is arguably a good thing. Secondly, they can't finish with a 2-2 head-to-head record against either team. That will make tiebreakers for playoff seeding easier and even more important than they usually are.

0

The Wizards do not have any games on Christmas Day, New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, three of the biggest holidays during the NBA season. Per tradition, they do play on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. They will host the Detroit Pistons at 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21.

45,528 

The Wizards will travel over 45,000 miles this season as they hop from city to city and make a stop in London for their game against the New York Knicks on Jan. 17. The circumference of planet Earth is 24,901 miles, meaning the Wizards will travel nearly twice the miles it would take to go around the world.

40

Because that game in London against the Knicks is a home game for the Wizards, they only have 40 games set for Capital One Arena. That means they will have one less game at their home arena than everyone else in the NBA. 

16

That 'home' game in London is part of the longest 'homestand' for the Wizards this season. They begin on Jan. 9 against the Sixers and finish with the Warriors on Jan. 24, a span of 16 days. They will also see the Bucks, Raptors and Pistons during that stretch. The Knicks are likely to be bad, but that is an otherwise difficult run of top teams.

9

The Wizards' longest road trip will last nine days, from Oct. 22 to Oct. 30. It starts with the third game of the season as the Wizards go to Portland to see the Blazers. They then play at the Warriors, Kings, Clippers and Grizzlies. Some of those teams may not be good this season, but any West Coast trip will be taxing on the body and mind for players.

21

John Wall and the Wizards will have 21 games against All-Star point guards. They will see every team, of course, but that includes four times against Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic and Kemba Walker. 

The Wizards have eight national TV games this season, five on ESPN and three on TNT. They begin with the Thunder at home on Nov. 2 and end with the Celtics, also at home, on April 9. That's the final game of the regular season. The Wizards will also see the Warriors, Bucks, Pacers, Heat and Celtics one more time on national TV. Their eight games are way down from the 18 they had last year and that might work out well for them. Wall and the Wizards seem to operate well when they feel like they are being overlooked. Plus, more games on NBC Sports Washington is always a good thing.

Keely Diven contributed to this report

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Every nationally televised game of the Wizards' 2018-19 season, including dates and times

Every nationally televised game of the Wizards' 2018-19 season, including dates and times

The NBA released the league's 2018-19 schedule on Friday afternoon.

. Though they aren't scheduled to play on Christmas day, there's still a great slate of Wizards games to look forward to.

All Wizards games will be televised regionally, with eight games airing nationally on either TNT or ESPN, a drop from 18 nationally televised games last season.

Below, the schedule of those games, including when to tune in. 

WIZARDS 2018-19 NATIONAL TV SCHEDULE

1. Wizards vs. Thunder, Fri. Nov. 2
TV Channel, Time: 
ESPN, 8 pm ET
The Wizards' lone nationally televised game before the calendar turns over to 2019 features the arrival of Russell Westbrook and Paul George into town. John Wall vs. Russell Westbrook on ESPN? Yes, please. 

2. Wizards at Heat, Fri. Jan. 4
TV Channel, Time:
ESPN, 8 pm ET
Despite their lack of a real franchise star, the Heat are trending in the right direction after a strong finish to the 2017-18 campaign. 

3. Wizards vs. Warriors, Thurs. Jan. 24
TV Channel, Time: 
TNT, 8 pm ET
The Warriors are jam-packed with superstars. In fact, they might have too many superstars. The Wizards and Warriors have but on some instant classics in the past. Do not miss this one.

4. Wizards vs. Pacers, Wed. Jan. 30
TV Channel, Time: 
ESPN, 8 pm ET
DeMatha grad and burgeoning NBA superstar Victor Oladipo heads to town. The Pacers are thought to be on the same level as the Wizards and this game may show which team is more primed to make a playoff run. 

5. Wizards at Bucks, Wed. Feb. 6
TV Channel, Time: 
ESPN, 8 pm ET
John Wall is an athletic freak who might be the best shot-blocking guard in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most freakish player in the NBA. What else do you need?

6. Wizards at Celtics, Fri. Mar. 1
TV Channel, Time: ESPN, 8 pm ET
The Wizards and Celtics still don't like each other this Friday night game just feels like one that is going to go off the rails. 

7. Wizards at Lakers, Tues. Mar. 26
TV Channel, Time: 
TNT, 10:30 pm ET
As a kid on Vine once said, LeBron James.

8. Wizards vs. Celtics, Tues. Apr. 9
TV Channel, Time: 
TNT, 7pm
The Wizards' final nationally televised game of the year could be their most important. It could also be the culmination of year-long hostility. 

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