Laker fans never have to worry. When the NBA released its revised schedule about a week ago, they made sure the league’s most polarizing franchise was delivered to it’s ever-expanding fan base. Is 29 out of 66 enough? 29 times this season the Lakers will be playing on national TV, which is only about 25 times more than the New Jersey Nets, despite their star point guard and despite their jet ski-riding, womanizing owner (and even those four games got the shaft that is NBA TV). The NBA knows the big names and the big teams will make the most money. Cleveland at Milwaukee in February is for no one outside of the diehards.
God was good when he gave us the wisdom to come up with an idea like NBA League Pass. Back in high school, I wore it out watching as many Jason Williams games as I could, and even though I now use it for work, it’s still fresh. Lonely winter Friday nights sipping tea by the fireplace aren’t anyone’s idea of a good time (outside of Drake). But League Pass can at least make you forget for a few hours on those boring nights that no one wants to hang out with you.
Just as J-Will was once the League Pass MVP, Oklahoma City eventually turned into the No. 1 League Pass Team. It wasn’t only because of Kevin Durant. We’ve gotten an up close and personal view of Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook‘s development, as well as front row seats for the zaniest crowd in the game.
But now that they’ll be on TVs from Santa Monica to Dover 24 times this season, the Thunder have graduated to celebrity status. Who’ll be the next OKC? There are plenty of candidates, and all of them have certain qualities that’ll stand out on those mid-season nights when you can’t decide between Orlando/New York or Minnesota/Portland.
League Pass teams need some unproven but exciting young players, a coach who’s just awful enough to constantly screw stuff up, the potential for both embarrassment and glamour,the effect of the unknown and most importantly, a low profile among the national audience.
League Pass officially went on sale today (now go rush to make the purchase), so in honor of that glorious treat (a great Christmas gift), here are my top 10 League Pass teams for the upcoming season:
16 National TV Appearances (eight ESPN, two TNT, one ESPN2, five NBA TV)
I was actually somewhat surprised looking at the numbers of times the Suns will be on national TV. But since these are my rules and I didn’t put a capper on how many games qualify you for this, I’m keeping them on. They just get docked a few points.
Whereas they were once the greatest show on the hardwood, it’s now just Steve Nash, a reinvigorated Grant Hill and a bunch of guys holding on for dear life. Jared Dudley is fun. The new guy (Shannon Brown) jumps high. But this all comes back to Nash, someone who could make Viktor Khryapa interesting.