August 11, 2016, 8:48 pm
This time of year is usually pretty slow for basketball news, making for some pretty dry “Daily Dish” pieces. However, this summer we are lucky enough to have a Summer Olympics to help pass the offseason. In addition, the NBA schedule for the 2016-2017 season was released on Thursday, providing for some exciting matchups to analyze and look forward to.
Team USA came through against Australia, winning by ten after trailing for a majority of the game. Carmelo Anthony had to carry the team and give USA the lead with less than eight minutes left in the game. After scoring 31 points, Carmelo became the all-time leading Olympic scorer for the United States. Australia has had some solid team through pool play, led by Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova.
I’m keeping the Olympic coverage light in this Dish, as one of our other writers is providing more in depth coverage on a regular basis on the site.
The main news for this Dish is the release of the new season schedule. Commissioner Adam Silver reduced the number of back-to-back sets this season, which will hopefully reduce player injuries. As expected, the NBA made sure to highlight some key matchups to add for premium drama on the biggest days of the season.
Opening night will take place on October 25th with a double-header on TNT. Viewers will get to catch the defending champion Cavaliers versus the revamped Knicks in the first game. The second game of the night will feature the top two teams in the western conference last season as the Warriors battle the Spurs. Portland will also be hosting the Jazz that evening, but will not be featured in a primetime slot like the other two games.
With some big name players changing teams in free agency this offseason, there will be added drama when these players face off against their old teams. Dwyane Wade will return to Miami for the first time in early November. Kevin Durant will face off against his old team in early November as well, but does not return to Oklahoma City until February.
Christmas day is one of the biggest days of the NBA season each year and the matchups for the five games on the schedule this season are: Celtics @ Knicks, Warriors @ Cavaliers, Bulls @ Spurs, Timberwolves @ Thunder and Clippers @ Lakers. The choice of matchups for this marquee day are very interesting and may be a sign of expectations by the league for certain teams this season.
The Knicks have an opportunity to make some noise in the eastern conference with some big name free agent additions, but will really need to stars to align with all the injury liabilities on the roster. It is no surprise to see the first finals rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers on the biggest day of the season. The game I think is the most intriguing is the Timberwolves @ Thunder matchup. The Timberwolves are a team that I think could make some serious noise in the western conference playoff picture and the league seems to agree.
In other big news, Lebron James has signed a three-year deal with the Cavaliers. Many expected him to continue to ride short term contracts so he had the ability to control his NBA future, so this was an interesting twist to the offseason.
That will sum up today’s Dish as we look forward to the season opener in a little more than a couple months. Keep checking back to the site for news on Olympic updates in hopes of a successful run by Team USA.