There’s huge interest in a number of teams that otherwise were irrelevant to casual basketball fans last year.The team that tops that list, without question, is the Los Angeles Clippers. With the blockbuster signings of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers went from a fringe playoff team in the West to a serious title contender – and the NBA’s TV partners have taken notice.
Monday, in a press release from Warner Media, the Clippers learned they would make 11 appearances on TNT this season, behind only the Warriors and Lakers who have 12 appearances each. In fact, the NBA on TNT’s opening week will feature two Clippers games, the first coming on Tuesday October 22 against the Lakers and the second two days later in San Francisco in the first regular season Warriors game at the Chase Center. All in all, the Clippers will play the Warriors, Lakers, Rockets and Blazers twice each on TNT. On Christmas Day, Kawhi Leonard’s new team will wear their road jerseys at Staples Center tipping off against the Lakers on ABC. In all, the Clippers will make 15 appearances on ESPN or ABC this season.
Another team in the West that gained new found popularity this Summer is the Pelicans – who locked up Duke phenom Zion Williamson with the first overall pick of June’s draft. New Orleans will be featured much more prominently on the national stage this season with 5 TNT games. In fact, the 2019-2020 NBA on TNT season will tip off in Toronto when the Raptors host the Pelicans on Tuesday October 22. Zion fans will have plenty of other opportunities to see the rookie play on the national stage with 12 games on ESPN or ABC this season.
While teams like the Clippers and Pelicans have to be pleased with the national exposure they’ll see this year, there are two teams in the east who must be disappointed with the draw. The Hornets have a grand total of one nationally televised game on TNT, and none on ESPN or ABC, and the Knicks will appear on TNT twice and ESPN once.
The Knicks, who still top Forbes’ list of the most valuable NBA franchises, had a tremendously disappointing off season losing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Nets – and it looks like the national exposure followed the All-Stars to Brooklyn. The Nets will appear on ESPN or ABC five times this year, with TNT broadcasting an additional six games.
Source: Press release