The NBA released the 2013-14 regular season schedule on Tuesday, and the initial rumors about the New York Knicks' first game held true. But what's to make of the rest of the schedule for the new-look Knicks?
Schedule-makers certainly made it appear as if they want the Knicks to play on the biggest stage as often as possible, as the team will play 24 primetime games during the season. These games will be aired on either ABC, ESPN or TNT. Counting games on NBATV, the Knicks will have 33 primetime matchups.
The games will mostly be against top-notch teams, sans for a few games against the Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats. Eastern Conference rivals like the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets comprise 15 of the games.
Those 15 games will have major implications on the Knicks' standing in the East come playoff time. If the Knicks can't beat the best teams in the conference, then there will essentially be no hope for any sort of playoff push.
The Heat are reigning two-time champs, the Bulls are likely getting Derrick Rose back and the Pacers and Nets underwent major facelifts. The Pacers re-upped with David West while also adding former-Knick Chris Copeland, power forward Luis Scola and point guard C.J. Watson. Brooklyn added Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirlenko and re-signed Andray Blatche. These teams are deep—period.
Indiana already gave the Knicks problems in last season's playoffs, and adding even more firepower under the basket next to Roy Hibbert will make for some dominating performances. The addition of Andrea Bargnani at power forward may not prove to be enough to hold off the post-attack of the Pacers.
Brooklyn added veteran, proven talent to a rivalry that already showed promise after last season's introduction to the NBA's best rivalries. The Knicks and Nets will certainly be fighting for the New York spotlight due to the impending excitement the games will bring.
Amongst Western Conference primetime matchups, two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder stand out. The San Antonio Spurs may have represented the West in the NBA Finals, but many will argue that a healthy Thunder team are the best team in the Conference. Playing an impressive set of games against them would propel the Knicks into the discussion of teams that could surprise people come playoff time.
The regular season doesn't begin until October 25 against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden, and the first primetime game comes just a day later when the Knicks travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls. If the exorbitant number of primetime games is any implication on the team's expectations, then all eyes will be on the Knicks in 2013-14.
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