Five things to look for when Sixers’ schedule releases later this week


Last week, NBA fans were treated to the preseason schedule release. Although, not the real thing just yet,  October 4 is the first night Sixers fans will see Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and Ben Simmons will take the floor together. The regular season schedule, expected to be announced later this week, is what every Sixers fan is waiting for. Here’s what to watch for:


For most NBA teams, back-to-backs aren’t a big deal, especially early in the season. It isn’t until late in the year where you’ll see the stars of the NBA sit out due to ‘rest.’ But, for the Sixers, there is always concern with restrictions for Embiid and Simmons, and with Fultz spraining his ankle in the NBA Summer League, will the Sixers opt to rest the 2017 number one overall pick in select back-to-backs? The Sixers medical staff has had a reputation of using extreme caution (expect for the infamous Houston game on ESPN last season, we’ll forget that happened). The Sixers played 17 sets of such games last year, and with the season starting approximately a week earlier, that could be knocked down to 13-15.


Timing of west coast trips
Fortunately for the Sixers, one west coast trip is for certain: over the holidays. With Disney on Ice invading the Wells Fargo Center between Christmas and New Year’s, that forces the squad to travel to the west coast every year. The timing of that trip is perfect, because it’s right before the half-way point. The Sixers would have all of January, February, March, and part of April to right the ship if it starts to abort.

That west coast trip at that time is always a given. The second trip out west isn’t. Last year, the Sixers went out west for four games in mid-March. If they got stuck with that again, it’d be a tall task for a young team fighting for playoff positioning to out in arenas like Portland, Golden State, and even Utah to win. The second trip is something to watch for.


April schedule
For the first time in four years, the opponents in April will matter. Last year, the Sixers played six April games, all against eastern conference foes. Will they be playing teams that already clinched playoff spots, such as Cleveland, Boston, and Washington? Or will they be playing teams that are fighting for spots, potentially with the Sixers? Could the Sixers get teams like the New York, Brooklyn, or Orlando, who already have their beach plans for the summer? How many of those games will be at home? Last year, four of the six games were at home. Definitely something to watch for.


Divisional opponents
Playing division rivals in the NBA isn’t nearly as important as the MLB or NFL. However, since each divisional team has four dates with each other, it’s interesting to see when those games are. For instance, last season, the Sixers went the first 17 games without playing a divisional opponent.


According to Keith Pompey of, one thing we know for sure, a ‘home’ game against the Boston Celtics will be played in London on January 11.


Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at home
Find those games, circle them, and get your tickets right away. They’ll sellout quick.


Once the schedule is released, a detailed analysis of these five things to watch will follow.


Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports