Today, the NBA will finally release the schedule for the 2015-2016 season, and Charlotte Hornets fans are probably entering this with a few expectations in their mind. Some of theses are from trends of years past that are unlikely to change in the upcoming season, and others might be due to the Hornets chances of contending for a playoff spot near the end of the season. Of course, nothing is set in stone right now, and it could end up that none of these predictions are correct, but what's the fun in a schedule release without a few surprises thrown in?
The Hornets will not open the season at home
Last year, Charlotte got a rare opportunity to open their season in front of the home crowd. Most middle of the road small market NBA teams don't get to do this, but Charlotte was coming off their second playoff appearance in Bobcats history, a re-brand with a new court, jerseys, mascot, etc, and and offseason that led many to consider the Hornets a dark horse conference finals candidate. With all of this going for Charlotte, it would have been crazy for the NBA to not let the Hornets open their season at home.
Unfortunately, the team last year failed to meet a lot of those pre-season expectations, and ended up becoming really painful to watch. Despite an offseason that appears to have made the Hornets better, and maybe more fun to watch, it's unlikely Charlotte will get to open up at home once again.
ESPN and/or TNT will show the Hornets at least once
Last year, the Hornets had a handful of national TV games, but the majority were on NBA TV. Everybody knows that the real national TV games that fans want to be on are the ESPN and TNT showcases throughout the season. Those are the games everybody can see, and in the case of TNT it's usually the only games on that entire night.
Last year, Charlotte was given two games by ESPN late in the season. The expectations were that the Hornets would be battling for playoff positioning at that point of the year, and it seemed like a good idea to get them on national TV. Unfortunately, one of the games was flexed out to make room for a more appealing game, because Charlotte had fallen out of playoff relevancy by the time they were going to play.
This season should be a similar case for Charlotte. If they do get any TNT or ESPN games then it's going to be a late season contest in March or April. The Hornets should be able to compete for a playoff spot this season, but they aren't appealing enough to garner much national attention outside of a playoff race. That said, they're good enough to be in the thick of the playoff race at the end of the season, and should get to be in the national spotlight at least once this year.
The Hornets will play on MLK day.
Martin Luther King, Jr Day has been a day the NBA has embraced, and they usually have quite a few games on throughout the day in cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte. The Hornets have played during the last three MLK days, and there's no reason to think they won't play again this year.
The Hornets will have the most back to backs
It's the tradition of every Charlotte NBA fan when the schedule is announced. As soon as its released the immediate question fans have is "How many back to backs do they play this year?". Why would fans want to know such a strange question? Well, that's because the Hornets have had the most back to backs in the NBA for the last three years or so. However, this is not a case of bias against Charlotte, but a request by the team itself. The Hornets usually ask the NBA for more games on the weekends, because attendance obviously does better on non work days, but to meet this request the NBA has to give Charlotte quite a few back to backs.
Considering that the Hornets have led the NBA in back to backs the last two seasons, and since there's no reason to think they didn't request to have more weekend games lets just assume that once again Charlotte will be one of the leading teams in back to backs yet again.
Where and how to watch the schedule release
Where: NBA TV
When: 6 P.M. EST