Ball Don't Five: Top 5 teams with 5 or fewer national TV appearances

As we continue to work our way through the endless summer between the Finals and Opening Night, we'll pause each Friday to briefly consider and count down some NBA-related topic of note. We like starting lineups and round numbers, so we'll run through a handful of items each week. With a nod to our friends at Dr. Saturday, welcome to Ball Don't Five.

This week's installment: The Top Five Teams with Five or Fewer National TV Appearances in the 2015-16 Season.

NOTE: These rankings are based on the watchability of each team, not their quality or likely win-loss record. So, you know, don't take this list as a favorable prediction for the Sacramento Kings.

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HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 21:   Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives with the basketball against  Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets during their game at the Toyota Center on February 21, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives with the basketball against Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets during their game at the Toyota Center on February 21, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

5. Toronto Raptors (2 appearances): Yes, the NBA's lone non-American squad will appear on national TV just twice this regular season, the lowest total for any 2015 playoff team except the Brooklyn Nets. The Raptors maintain a relatively low profile among fans outside of their large and vociferous Canadian base, and as the league's lone international squad they are bound to receive a little less attention than other, ostensibly more patriotic franchises.

That's a shame, because the Raptors have a lot to offer viewers even after a terrible showing after the All-Star break and in their very one-sided sweep at the hands of the Washington Wizards in last spring's first round. The backcourt partnership between Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan remains arguably the best in the conference, with both players set to challenge for All-Star spots again in the first few months of this season. Plus, while the loss of Amir Johnson will put more pressure on Jonas Valanciunas to develop into an excellent defender, the free-agent additions of prized 3-and-D wing DeMarre Carroll and big man Bismack Biyombo give head coach Dwane Casey more options and the chance to improve upon 2014-15's lowly 23rd-place finish in defensive efficiency.

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To put it bluntly, a team with two consecutive division titles, an All-Star starter, and a World Cup gold medalist deserves more than two national TV appearances no matter their country of origin. It's possible that the Washington Wizards deserved this spot ahead of Toronto as this list's mid-tier Eastern Conference contender, but the Raptors did finish with a superior record and don't figure into the broader conversation surrounding the NBA quite so much.

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after making a basket in the fourth quarter of their game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Sleep Train Arena on February 25, 2015 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 25: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after making a basket in the fourth quarter of their game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Sleep Train Arena on February 25, 2015 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

4. Sacramento Kings (4): Sometimes a baffling team can be more watchable than a good one. The Sacramento Kings have inspired little confidence in their busy, often infuriating summer, to the point where even mostly sensible partings of ways can lead to confusion over the long-term direction of the franchise. As the latest in a string of personnel men hired by quick-acting owner Vivek Ranadive, Vlade Divac has constructed a team without much internal logic. Center DeMarcus Cousins is still the centerpiece of the offense, but new point guard Rajon Rondo figures to dominate the ball as he attempts to save his reputation. That setup could also pose problems for the development of rookie big man Willie Cauley-Stein, who doesn't figure to spend much time outside of an already crowded painted area. And that's to say nothing of the potential for fireworks between Cousins and head coach George Karl, who have supposedly reached an accord but could head back into another period of discord at a moment's notice.

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The whole thing could explode at any minute, which figures to make every game watchable if only for the potential to see something we've never seen before. But the Kings aren't just a focus for rubbernecking, because Cousins still holds the possibility for dominance on any night. Additionally, Rondo could be a good for a few vintage triple-double performances even if he does not recapture the unique creative genius that made him a figure of cult worship for the better part of a decade. The Kings are not a model franchise by any means, but they're still good for some dumb fun. That's enough sometimes.

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 15:  Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz battles passes the basketball in front of Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets during their game at the Toyota Center on April 15, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 15: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz battles passes the basketball in front of Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets during their game at the Toyota Center on April 15, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

3. Utah Jazz (3): Against the odds, the Jazz are now something of a hip choice to make the playoffs in the ever-competitive West. Dante Exum's ACL tear puts those hopes in danger, but they remain one of the more intriguing young squads as we look ahead to the upcoming season. Unlike many teams in the same position, it's not because of their offensive firepower. While Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks (set to return from season-ending injury) are all capable offensive players, the Jazz stand out because of a defense that ranked best in the NBA after the All-Star break, good enough to help them to the sixth-best record in the league over that same span.

It starts with Rudy Gobert, the 7-2, 23-year-old Frenchman who emerged as an elite rim protector once the Jazz dealt Enes Kanter to the Oklahoma City Thunder. While there's no guarantee that Utah will match its post-break performance against teams that aren't positioning themselves for the lottery, Gobert holds immense potential and is usually good for one or two tremendous highlights per night. Offense is a legitimate concern for the Jazz, particularly if now-essential point guard Trey Burke gets back to his chucking ways, but the defense can be worth a watch by itself. At a time when most squads are going small in the name of versatility, Utah's interior combo of Favors and Gobert offers increasingly rare pleasures.

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 08:  Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for a portrait during the 2015 NBA rookie photo shoot on August 8, 2015 at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 08: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for a portrait during the 2015 NBA rookie photo shoot on August 8, 2015 at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

2. Minnesota Timberwolves (5): Truth be told, the Timberwolves probably don't deserve any more than their five national TV appearances, because a 16-win team will always need to prove itself before it becomes worth taking too seriously. Yet the Wolves are the classic case of a young squad that begs to be watched on a random winter weekday night when the stage is small and uber-promising youngsters like Andrew Wiggins and top pick Karl-Anthony Towns can alternate moments of greatness with periods of confusion and inactivity. It will take this group time to improve, but they have as high a ceiling as any lottery team around.

Even if they don't reach those heights, the Wolves should have plenty to offer. There are very few players on this roster who don't hold some entertainment value — Ricky Rubio is as creative as they come, Kevin Garnett is involved in a genuinely heartwarming return to his first team, Andre Miller is the rare 40-something player who cares more about playing time than winning, Anthony Bennett could still escape bust status, Zach LaVine is one of the best dunkers we've ever seen, etc. No matter how many games they win or how much progress they make, there is very little evidence that Minnesota will be boring. That's more than we can say of many playoff teams.

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives with the ball against Corey Brewer #33 of the Houston Rockets during their game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Toyota Center on February 6, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives with the ball against Corey Brewer #33 of the Houston Rockets during their game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Toyota Center on February 6, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

1. Milwaukee Bucks (4): 2014-15's most pleasant surprise enters this season with considerable expectations due to the addition of Greg Monroe and the return of Jabari Parker from injury. At their heart, though, the Bucks are a rangy, very versatile squad that ranked as the second-best defensive team in the league behind the Golden State Warriors. With Michael Carter-Williams on the perimeter, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the wings, and John Henson inside, the Bucks boast several ideal defenders for this era, players capable of using their imposing length to guard several types of players. At its best, Milwaukee offers a defensive clinic for the new era, one every bit as impressive as what the Warriors accomplished throughout their title run.

This season's incarnation should be better offensively, if only because of the presences of Monroe and Parker. Yet 2015-16 also could see the emergence of Antetokounmpo as a bona fide star, the sort of player that the Bucks have lacked since Michael Redd's brief peak and arguably even Ray Allen's last days with the franchise. The 20-year-old Greek Freak has the ability to serve as the team's best player at both ends, a variation on Kawhi Leonard who could eventually pass the Spurs' star. If Antetokounmpo makes the leap, we can pencil the Bucks in for many more national TV spots in 2016-17.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!