Thunder among few NBA teams with 0 games on national TV this season

Moke Hamilton
·2 min read

With respect to the 2020-21 NBA season, the national television schedule-makers for the NBA’s television partners gave the Oklahoma City Thunder the Rodney Dangerfield treatment — no respect.

The club is just one of seven teams that will not have any of its games nationally televised, at least not during the first-half of the regular season.

On Friday, the league’s teams each released their individual schedules. For now, only the first-half of the games to be played this season have been scheduled, with the league planning to announce the second-half schedule at a later time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers lead the way with 16 of its 37 announced games nationally televised. The Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors will each have 14 appearances on national television.

On the other end of the spectrum, joining the Thunder, are the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, Detriot Pistons, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Most players look forward to appearances on national television. It’s an opportunity for them to promote themselves and to be seen by friends and family who may not be within the team’s local television market. Not even having one national game is bound to get noticed by players on the team.

The saving grace for the Thunder might be the fact that of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Steven Adams, only Durant’s return to Oklahoma City has been announced. He will make his return to Chesapeake Arena on Jan. 29, 2021. That game, however, will not be televised nationally.

Because only the first half of the season schedule has been released, it is not yet known when Westbrook, Paul or Adams will make their returns. But based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s safe to assume that the Thunder will be completely shut out.

While not surprising, it’s worth noting where the team stacks up in terms of what the league’s TV partners believe its fans want to see.

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