Earlier this week, the NBA released the first half of their 2020-2021 schedule. That half of the season will run from December 22, 2020 to March 4, 2021, with the 2nd half being released at a later point in time.
Released alongside the overall schedule was the NBA’s national schedule for the first half of the year, which includes games to be played on ABC, ESPN, and TNT. Those games are handily broken down by this chart, from NBC Sports:
Trae Young needs more nationally televised games, via @basketballtalk pic.twitter.com/IGU06k9CiV— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) December 5, 2020
Of particular note on this chart for Spurs fans is the complete lack of nationally televised games throughout the first half of the season. After being scheduled to play 13 games on the big networks in the 2019-2020 season, the Silver and Black will join 6 other teams that also will have zero games on the national stage through the first 37-38 games of the season. Contrast this with the reigning champs, the Los Angeles Lakers, who will play 16 of their first 37 games on national tv.
It’s easy to see this as yet another example of the disrespect San Antonio fans have come to know over the years, with the small market team almost always being (famously) overlooked. The Spurs, even though it was a down season last year, were able to qualify for the NBA Bubble down in Orlando, yet will not be featured in the early part of the year. Contrast this with the five teams that will play at least 1 game on the big stage, which are all teams that failed to qualify.
Is it possible that those five teams will switch roles with the six teams who currently have no nationally televised games during the yet-to-be-announced second half of the season? One thing is for certain: NBA League Pass is going to be a must-need for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the Spurs live in action this season outside of the San Antonio market.