Philadelphia 76ers release 2023-24 Schedule: Instant analysis

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) smiles while walking down court with James Harden (1) during the second half of Game 5 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The NBA and Philadelphia 76ers have released the complete schedule for the upcoming season. The Sixers start their season on the road against Giannis Antetekoumpo and the Bucks on October 26th on TNT. They head to Toronto two days later for Nick Nurse’s return against the Raptors. The home opener at Wells Fargo Center will take place on October 29th against the Portland Trailblazers, who may or may not have Damian Lillard in their lineup.

The Whole World Watching

The 76ers will appear on national TV 29 times including matchups on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. Some of their most intriguing matchups on national TV include a showdown with the Miami Heat on Christmas Day. Both matchups with Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Denver Nuggets will be nationally televised (1/16/24 and 1/27/24).

Both matchups against the Los Angeles Lakers will air on NBA TV and two matchups each against the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and Cleveland Cavaliers will be on ESPN or TNT. The 76ers had 23 games on ABC/ESPN/TNT last season and that number has been reduced to 17. The NBA could be hedging on what could be a a weird season for the 76ers with the James Harden drama.

Harden 76ers
FILE – Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden reacts during Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Philadelphia. Harden appears determined to sever ties with the Philadelphia 76ers after the star guard called team president Daryl Morey a liar at a promotional event at China. Harden’s comments, video of which surfaced Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, came almost seven weeks after he picked up his $35.6 million option with the 76ers for this season and then promptly said he wanted to be traded.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Road Trippin’

The 76ers have a few extended road trips that could pose a challenge for this team, although they were a much better road team last season. These extended road trips include:

12/25/23 @ Miami
12/27/23 @ Orlando
12/29/23 @ Houston
12/30/23 @ Chicago

1/25/24 @ Indiana
1/27/23 @ Denver
1/29/23 @ Portland
1/30/23 @ Golden State
2/1/24 @ Utah

3/20/23 @ Phoenix
3/22/23 @ LA Lakers
3/24/23 @ LA Clippers
3/25/23 @ Sacramento

If the 76ers can perform anywhere near as well as they did last season, these trips won’t be as worrisome. The 76ers most notably went 5-0 on a west coast road trip last season with Embiid and Harden both missing games.

Scheduling Tidbits

  • The 76ers have only 14 back-to-backs on the schedule this season. Embiid’s injury history has always led to him being questionable for the second game of a back-to-back. With less on the schedule, maybe he will play more of them.
  • The Sixers will play 8 of their first 11 games at the Wells Fargo Center, which could be used to build momentum early in the season.
  • The end of the season includes 4 games against opponents who will be in the lottery or fighting for a play-in spot. The 76ers could choose to rest players if they are locked into their seed or climb up the standings in those last 4 games.

We are closer than we think to the start of the season and on paper, the Sixers have a favorable schedule. Their success will depend on what team they put out there on the floor and fans are eager to see how the Harden drama unfolds.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa