First Look at the 2017-18 Washington Wizards Schedule | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

First Look at the 2017-18 Washington Wizards Schedule

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Updated: August 14, 2017

The Washington Wizards followed one of their most exciting seasons in years with a decidedly boring off-season. Washington spent the summer months focused on retaining their own players (John Wall and Otto Porter) and acquiring some minimum salary bench depth (Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott), while the rest of the Eastern conference elites went bonkers — in both good and bad ways.

With the release of the 2017-18 schedule it is now time to look forward and get excited about the untapped potential of the 2017-18 Washington Wizards.

Capital One Arena’s Biggest Home Games

October 18 vs. Philadelphia. The NBA already revealed last week that the Wizards start their season at home for just the sixth time in 37 years. Assuming the Sixers’ young guns are healthy, this will be a historic game for Sam Hinkie’s Trust The Process disciples –Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz — take the court together for the first time in a real NBA game. Last season, several busloads of Sixers fans infiltrated the Verizon Center and gleefully chanted various Philadelphia-themed mantras throughout the game. Expect even bigger crowds this year.

November 3 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. We know LeBron will be there, but it’s anyone’s guess if Kyrie Irving will be tagging along for Cleveland’s first visit to Capital One Arena.

November 9 vs. Los Angeles Lakers. Nobody takes LaVar Ball seriously, but I’d guess that no NBA point guard wants to become fodder for the rookie’s parental hype machine. Certainly not John Wall, especially after hearing about how Jeremy Lin outplayed him in summer league seven years ago. This will be the first meeting between the two guards and hopefully Wall will teach him a lesson about NBA-level speed.

December 17 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland’s second visit is only two days after the deadline (December 15) when players acquired over the summer can be included in trades. If Kyrie was still on the team during the Cavs November 3 visit to D.C., there is a chance he will no longer be in Cleveland for the second visit.

December 19 vs. New Orleans. #Boogie2DC.

December 29 vs. Houston Rockets. Houston went from having one of the best five point guards in the NBA to having two of the best five point guards in the NBA. It’s an interesting back-court experiment. John Wall, another member of the top-5 point guard group, will have his hands full.

February 8 vs. Boston Celtics. It might have started out as “cute” talk, but the Washington Wizards-Boston Celtics match-up blossomed into a full blown rivalry. The two teams meet for the first time in D.C. since John Wall’s Game 6 winner on February 8. Then, it’s another two months before Boston returns to Washington on April 10 in the final home game of the year.

February 28 vs. Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant’s return to D.C. was cut short last year when he exited the game after a little more than a minute with a knee injury that ultimately cost him 19 games. Even without Durant, the matchup turned into one of the most entertaining home games of the season, with Washington holding on for a 112-108 win in front of a raucous Verizon Center crowd. Hopefully, KD will see a lot more playing time this year.

Unfortunately, Washington plays Golden State on the second night of a back-to-back, with an away game in Milwaukee the night before.

March 13 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota has quickly become one of the most exciting young teams in the league. Karl-Anthony Towns will do that for you. This year they added Jimmy Butler to form a new Big 3 with Andrew Wiggins.

April 10 vs. Boston Celtics. Washington plays Boston in its final home game (second-to-last game of the season). This game could go either way. The teams could be jockeying for playoff position among the top 3 seeds or they could just as easily be resting all their starters in advance of the playoffs.

Go West Young Man

Washington begins the season with the earliest four-game West Coast trip on record.

This could be good — Washington traditionally starts very slowly, so why not get some hard games out of the way instead of blowing early-season games to the likes of Orlando and Brooklyn? But it would also be nice to start the season over .500 for once, instead of perpetually chasing that mark during November and December.

Unbalanced Schedule is Not Favorable

Due to schedule imbalance, every season there are four Eastern Conference teams that Washington only plays three times. The scheduling gods did not look favorably upon the Wizards this year. Washington only plays three games against four of the presumably worst teams in the East: Chicago, Brooklyn, Indiana and Detroit. This puts Washington at a slight disadvantage because they miss out on four winnable match-ups. But, it should be noted, last season the unbalanced schedule helped Washington’s win-expectancy because they only played Cleveland and Toronto three times.

Late Season Jockeying

If, as Wizards fans hope, Washington, Boston and Cleveland are the top 3 teams in the East, there are two potentially big games at the end of the season. Washington plays both Cleveland (away, April 5) and Boston (home, April 10) in their final four games of the year.

A Whole Lot of Lonzo

In a scheduling quirk, Lonzo Ball will play against John Wall twice in the Los Angeles Lakers’ first 12 games of the season. One of the knocks on Lonzo is his foot speed and inability to stay in front of opposing guards. Good luck with that.

Toughest Road Stretch

From January 17 leading up to the All-Star break on February 14, Washington plays 10 of 13 games on the road. On the bright side, the competition is not overwhelming (CHA, DET, DAL, OKC, ATL, ORL, IND, PHI, CHI, NYK) but any extended road stretches can be troublesome for this team.

Jekyll and Hyde

Washington’s schedule suffers from some wild mood swings. Beginning January 6 they have a five-game home stand followed by a five-game road trip. Then, beginning February 3 they play six of seven games on the road followed by a stretch of six of seven games at home.

Post-All-Star Break National Recognition

Washington plays 18 games on either TNT, ESPN or ABC. That ranks 9th in the league. However, almost a third of those games are televised immediately after the All-Star break when Washington plays five national TV games in nine nights, including a stretch of three games in four nights.

2/22 at Cleveland (TNT)

2/25 vs. Philadelphia (ESPN)

2/27 @Milwaukee (TNT)

2/28 vs. Golden State (ESPN)

3/2 vs. Toronto (ESPN)

 

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.