For the 2017-18 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves will play 25 times on National TV (ESPN, NBA TV, TNT, ABC) including opening night vs the San Antonio Spurs on ESPN and Christmas Day vs the Los Angeles Lakers.
From February 7th starting with the Cleveland Cavaliers and ending March 18th vs the Houston Rockets, Minnesota will play 12 nationally televised games out of the 15 games they play in that span. Adding Jimmy Butler and having emerging stars such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will do that for you.
After opening the NBA season on ESPN vs the Spurs, Minnesota will get a division match-up vs Oklahoma City and Russell Westbrook on NBA TV October 27th. The next National game will be in Oakland vs the Golden State Warriors, televised by ESPN. The 12 games in 15 Minnesota will have Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston, Sacramento, Portland, Utah, Boston, Golden State, Washington, San Antonio, and Houston. If you’re keeping track of the teams in that bunch that didn’t make the playoffs, they were the Lakers and Kings. Notice the top three of five teams in the West are there from last season and the top three of four teams from the East.
NBA 2017-18 Season: Miles traveled by each team over the whole season. pic.twitter.com/YSeq3rtFY2
— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) August 15, 2017
With Minnesota being a relatively secluded place geographically and playing in the Western Conference means lots of travel. Minnesota will travel more than any other NBA team this season for a few different reasons. Their closest neighbours in their conference is Memphis and Oklahoma City, and that’s 800 driving miles away. Next, is their divisional opponent Denver. Their other two divisional teams are Utah and Portland and Salt Lake City is 1,231 driving miles from Minneapolis while Portland is 1,744 miles.
Of course, NBA teams don’t drive to these destinations but here’s how Minnesota’s schedule begins. October 18th they are in San Antonio and fly home for their home opener against a returning Ricky Rubo and the Utah Jazz the following day. They then play Sunday the 22nd in Oklahoma City and fly home again to play Indiana. Their first back-to-back is here and they’ll fly to to Detroit to play the Pistons.
This seems like a perfect way to increase travel that’s not really necessary. The Wolves play away and then home the first six games. The NBA was supposed to reduce back-to-backs again but for Minnesota they did not. The Wolves will play 15 back-to-back’s which is an increase of 14 from last season.