For the second consecutive season, the Sixers will be begin their season as part of ESPN’s coverage of opening week. The Sixers will travel to Washington to take on the John Wall and the Wizards on Wednesday, October 17 on ESPN. The Sixers are also scheduled to take on the Knicks at the world’s most famous arena for a Christmas Day matinee. The Sixers will be sharing the spotlight with both the Cavs and Warriors, who play the 3:00pm EST game. An honor that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
While the full schedule is yet to be released, the nation is seemingly in love with the Sixers rebuild enough, to schedule the young squad for another season-opening matchup and a Christmas Day date. The debut of two number one overall picks Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz was enough for the NBA to make that the first game of a double-header. You could see why the NBA went in this direction. The debuts as previously mentioned, but Capital One Arena, home of the Wizards, is just roughly six miles from where Markelle Fultz attended high school at DeMatha Catholic. Nothing like the number one overall pick playing in his hometown in his first NBA game. Not to mention, the game itself, is set up to be track-meet with the up-tempo styles both teams like to play with.
Being scheduled on Christmas Day is more of an honor, because only the best-of-the-best plays on that day. If you look at last year’s matchups, the Sixers were chosen over the San Antonio Spurs. High expectations for a team with so many inexperienced young players.
Since the Sixers are slated for opening night and Christmas Day, for the first time since 2001, what could that mean for the rest of the schedule? Don’t be surprised if the Sixers are awarded with another — at least — four or five Wednesday or Friday night games that air on ESPN. Or, perhaps a Saturday night special later in the year that ABC covers.
The Sixers were flexed last year to ESPN in January against the Rockets when the team won nine of 12 games during the month. And don’t forget, last year’s team was led by just Joel Embiid and T.J. McConnell, who was running the point. Nothing against McConnell, but with the additions of Fultz, a healthy Simmons and Embiid, and with the addition of J.J. Redick, this team could be polarizing to watch. Not to mention Embiid and Simmons have some of the better senses of humor in the league.
It will only be a matter of time before the Sixers are seen on ESPN as much as, if not more than, the Cavs and Warriors are now. But ESPN seems to be taking notice a year or two in advance, which is fine with me. Expect the Sixers to be the wide world leader quite a few times this seasons, in addition to their two-already scheduled games.
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