The NBA released the full schedule for the 2019-2020 season last Monday. As a team with heavy expectations, the Sixers will be fun to watch regardless of the opponent. With that being said, there will, of course, be some games more exciting than others. Here are my top five most anticipated games for the upcoming season. These games are ranked by when they take place during the season.
Five For Fun:
November 25, 2019, at Toronto
Let me start by saying, I do not care that Kawhi is no longer a Raptor. I just want the chance to avenge the quadruple doink incident. I’m looking to demolish a rival team who knocked us out of the postseason and I want to do it on their court. My only extra demand is for Drake to witness it.
November 30, 2019, against Indiana
I have affectionately dubbed this the T.J. McConnell game. An alternative working title is T.J. McConnell: Homecoming.
December 13, 2019, against New Orleans
The next big thing, Zion Williamson comes to town as we also see the return of J.J. Reddick. Former Sixers Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor also join in on the action.
December 20, 2020, against Dallas
This will be the first matchup between Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic since March 2, 2016.
January 3, 2020, at Houston
Remember that drama between James Harden and Joel Embiid from last season? Well, they added Russell Westbrook so more than likely we’ll see some fireworks during this game.
My Top Five:
October 23, 2019, against Boston
Opening Night for a team is always exciting, this year will be no exception as the Boston Celtics come down south. The Celtics and Sixers rivalry goes back for generations. The Celtics are beginning a season of uncertainty after two stars left this offseason. Kyrie Irving took his talents to Brooklyn and Al Horford you may remember is one of the newest stars for your Sixers. In to replace them are Kemba Walker and Enes Kaner, time will tell if this will be enough to keep them competitive. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown thinking they’re in Ben Simmons’ talent group and Horford’s first reunion with his former team, this will be an opening day to remember. Maybe the Sixers will finally take control of the rivalry for a few years.
November 23, 2019, against Miami
Jimmy Butler is back. Last season’s biggest personality is returning to The Wells Fargo Center. Butler, a free-agent this past offseason, worked his way to Miami in a sign-and-trade that landed us Josh Richardson. Butler gave a lot to this town and this team so I doubt there will be much bad blood. But with how competitive Butler is, enhanced by the Heat’s militaristic approach, expect this to be a hard-fought game.
December 25, 2019, against Milwaukee
A potential eastern conference finals preview, and on Christmas Day no less! League MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo comes to Philly in a matchup that could be the best game of the regular season. Last year, Giannis went off for 52 points in a single game against us. Likewise, Joel Embiid averaged over 34 points for the entire series. If you mark just one game on your calendar, make sure it’s this game.
January 25, 2020, against the LA Lakers
The King comes to town as Lebron James and Anthony Davis face off against Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Unfortunately, DeMarcus Cousins will not make an appearance after tearing his ACL. This is his third major injury in two years. Last year the Sixers swept the series in what was a disappointing season for the Lakers. We should see some exciting matchups with Lebron on Ben and Anthony Davis on Embiid. This is a superstar duo showdown that may be decided by the depth of the rosters.
February 11, 2020, against the LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and perennially sixth man of the year candidate Lou Williams. This team has the Stars at the top to compete with anyone. At the same time, the rest of the roster is filled out with shooters and lengthy defenders. The Clippers will be one of the most challenging teams for the Sixers to face this season and they must be up to the task as this is a potential NBA Finals preview.
While we can certainly expect the Sixers to be one of the top teams this season, there needs to be an awakening of maturity from this squad. Last year we saw the celebrations when winning, which while fun, there was a tendency to over-believe in themselves. As a result, this led to multiple losses to teams below their talent level. With the addition of Al Horford and the growth of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, I trust in the increase of leadership this year. If all goes right, this season will be very special. It won’t be without a fight, however, as this season brings many difficult opponents.
Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports