NBA schedule release 2021-22: Kings' stars disrespected, difficult stretches

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Kings' young stars disrespected with NBA schedule release originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

For a team that hasn’t made the NBA playoffs in 15 straight seasons, the schedule release day is usually unkind. The league doesn’t highlight teams that can’t win regularly and they also don’t reward them. 

The Kings open the regular season on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 20. They’ll fly home after the game and face the Utah Jazz on Oct. 22 at Golden 1 Center.

After a second straight 31-41 record, the Kings won’t make a true national television appearance again this season.

That means less exposure for Tyrese Haliburton, De'Aaron Fox, and NBA Summer League standout Davion Mitchell, which hurts when it comes to things like potential All-Star game appearances and Rookie of the Year voting.

The Kings have five games on NBA TV and all 82 will run on NBC Sports California again this season. 

Sacramento's longest road trip this season is five games, which happens twice. The first occurrence is in January, where the Kings will make stops in Milwaukee, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York. Of this stretch, only the games against the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks are back-to-backs.

In late February and early March, the Kings set out on their second five-game trip. They'll drop by Denver, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio and finish the trip in Dallas against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. Only the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs games are back-to-backs.

RELATED: Kings' preseason schedule for '21-22 features Suns, Lakers

The longest homestand starts on Dec. 22 and runs until Jan. 2. They'll play six straight at Golden 1 Center starting with the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, the Mavs twice and finish off with the Miami Heat. This is a solid stretch for the Kings where they play nine out of 10 at home and 11 out of 13 in the state of California. 

Sacramento has a total of 14 back-to-backs, including four home-and-homes, three home-and-roads, three road-and-homes and four road-and-roads.

Down the stretch of the season, the Kings have a moderately difficult schedule. They’ll finish the last 20 games with just eight games at home and 12 on the road. Of those games, they’ll play 11 games against teams that made the postseason last year.

The Kings finish the regular season at home against the Phoenix Suns on April 10. Month-by-month, the Kings play 6 games in October, 16 in November, 15 in December, 15 in January, 11 in February and 14 in March before finishing up with five in April.

With a solid roster overhaul and plenty of potential for improvement, especially on the defensive end, the Kings have a shot of snapping their playoff drought. 

PointsBet has them winning 35.5 games, which is right at their prorated win total from last season. If they are to beat that prediction, they need to get off to a fast start and avoid losing streaks, like the two nine gamers they had last season.

The NBA isn’t going to give handouts. If the Kings want nationally televised games, better exposure and a more advantageous schedule, they need to win more games. It’s that simple.