The NBA season tips off on October 27th and unless you are blessed enough to have League Pass, you will be limited to seeing what the TV gods put before you on the Disney family of networks.

Hey, it’s not bad, but it means you only get to see the games of teams deemed worthy for the masses by a bunch of programming executives. And who are the worthy? Let’s take a look at the most and least televised teams through the season.

For the sake of this article, we will only be looking at the games that will be televised on network and basic cable in most areas. That means no NBA TV games will be counted in the tally.

The Cavs and Warriors are the two teams appearing most on a television near you this season that shouldn’t shock anyone. Besides being last year’s finalists, these teams also have two of the most popular and marketable stars in the game.

You’ll get to see each team play 25 times on TV this year, which is a full 30 percent of their games on national television.

The Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs make up the next tier of TV title contenders, appearing 24, 24, 23 and 21 times, respectively.

Lest you thought being in a big market was a direct corollary to being on TV, the Northeast is the division you will see the least of this season.

They will have a combined 17 TV appearances for the season. Seven of those will be by the Knicks and only three of those appearances will occur after December.

In an entirely humane decision, the Nets are only scheduled for one appearance. Boston’s grand guard rotation experiment will only be televised seven times.

Philadelphia has zero scheduled appearances, which is a shame because I think a significant number of NBA fans are interested in seeing Nerlens Noel pick up where he left off last season and Jahlil Okafor’s rookie campaign.

The Pistons are also without a solitary TV appearance and depending on your feelings about Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, you might be ok with that.

The Magic and Hornets are each scheduled for one appearance and it just so happens to be against each other on the last night of the regular season with the eighth seed in the East on the line, or nothing on the line whatsoever. Whatever.

Denver is the only other team with no games scheduled to be shown on television, which could be a blessing for Nuggets fans this season, but not good for NBA heads looking to see what Emmanuel Mudiay will do this season.

Several playoff teams from a year ago got no TV love this season. The Toronto Raptors will only be on television twice this year. Add that to the woes with which Drake can run through in the 6. Meanwhile, the young Bucks will be on TV four times.

A totally restructured Blazers team will appear five times, depriving all of us of adequate time to appreciate Meyer’s Leonard’s chiseled features. Despite having a rather exciting young backcourt, the Wizards will only be on TV five times this season.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year (Andrew Wiggins) and this year’s No. 1 overall pick (Karl-Anthony Towns) will be hard to watch, not because the Timberwolves will be horrible, but because you will only have five chances to catch them this season.

The most egregious error by those making the decisions about TV games has to be allowing the Lakers to appear 19 times. Yes, it may be Kobe’s final season. Yes, they will be an improved team from a year ago when they appeared on TV 20 times.

The Lakers, however, had one more win than TV appearances last season. It’s ridiculous when you consider that last year’s other Western Conference finalists, the Houston Rockets, will appear on TV 19 times despite having 44 more wins than the Lakers last season.

Maybe if the Rockets had more celebrities sitting courtside, they could best the Lakers for TV time. But until Beyonce, Jim Parsons, and George Foreman come to support their hometown team on a nightly basis, that probably isn’t going to happen.

Luckily for us all, there will be flex games. That means we may not be sentenced to the full 19-game slate of horror from the Lakers, just like we were spared from witnessing much of the atrocity that was the 2014 Knicks season.

It also means we will probably have an opportunity to see the Wizards and Raptors a few more times than expected.

The bottom line is, if you enjoy watching fun young team like the Bucks, Magic, Kings (4 games) and Jazz (3 games), you’ll have to get League Pass to enjoy more than a fleeting couple of games.

If you are more interested in seeing the very best teams (and the Lakers) duke it out night after night, then the network and basic cable channels have you covered.

By Blake Hamilton


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