The Memphis Grizzlies first half NBA schedule was released on Dec. 4. What lies ahead for Memphis in the first 37 games of the season?
On Friday, Dec.4, the NBA released the first half of its 2020-21 schedule. Preseason action begins in less than a week on Dec. 11 and will continue through Dec. 19.
The regular season tips off with a double header on Tuesday, Dec. 22 featuring the Golden State Warriors vs. the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Lakers.
The Lakers have 16 nationally televised games, followed by four teams (Boston, Dallas, New Orleans and Golden State) that have 14. There are seven teams that won’t appear on national television at all through the first half of the season.
No, the Memphis Grizzlies are not one of those teams.
As for the Grizzlies, their season begins Dec. 23 against DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs. They have three nationally televised games that we’ll get to in a moment.
The structure of this year’s schedule is going to look a little different. There are going to be a lot of back-to-back games against the same team. There aren’t an obscene amount of games against in-division opponents, so the schedule isn’t structured like baseball’s was, but if the Grizzlies get smoked by a team this season, there’s a reasonable chance their reward is playing them again in the next 48 hours.
Memphis’ nationally televised games show a trend. Albeit, it’s a small trend right now. Last season, the Grizzlies had two nationally televised games. One against former Grizzlies star Mike Conley and the Utah Jazz, and one against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year they have three in the first half of the season.
As should always be the case, Memphis plays on national TV on MLK Day, but it isn’t against the Pelicans this time. The Grizzlies will welcome Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns to the FedEx Forum on Jan. 18. That game is on TNT.
A month later, the Grizzlies will play two nationally televised games in four days. On Feb. 12, the Grizz will appear on ESPN against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Staples Center, before taking on Zion and the Pelicans on TNT on Feb. 16.
The small trend is the following: the Grizzlies have a player that gets them on national television.
Granted, calling Ja Morant a popular young star isn’t exactly a hot take, but specific matchups will get the Grizzlies on TV. There’s always the MLK game (rightfully so) and a game against the Lakers or Warriors of the world in which Morant gets to showcase his skills against one of the NBA’s best teams.
This season there’s another one against the Pelicans because Zion vs. Ja is a sight that people want to see — the No. 1 and No. 2 picks of the 2019 NBA Draft. They are two of the rising stars in the game today and putting them on the floor against each other is what people want. This trend is going to continue to grow as the Grizzlies (hypothetically) continue to improve and Morant becomes an even bigger star.
Three of Memphis’ first seven games will also appear on NBA TV, but those are not technically considered nationally televised contests. Those games are against the Hawks, Nets and Lakers
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the first half of the Grizzlies’ schedule.