Pelicans schedule: 5 biggest national TV games of the year

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Including preseason, the New Orleans Pelicans will be on national TV 19 times next season, which is one of the highest of any team in the league.

This is partly because the Pelicans are an up and coming team that made the playoffs last season and hope to make a deeper run next year.

The other reason is the return of Zion Williamson, as he is one of the biggest draws in the league, so the NBA wants to showcase him as much as possible.

Nationally televised games aren’t quite what they used to be during the heyday of the NBA on NBC and later on ABC, as a lot of fans don’t have cable TV, and now most of the games are on TNT, NBA TV and ESPN.

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This has led to fans getting ripped off by streaming services and sent many of them to pirate sites, but that is a different story altogether.

The Pels are going to get plenty of chances to shine on the national stage (even if that stage isn’t as big) but there are five games in particular that fans won’t want to miss.

New Orleans Pelicans schedule: 5 best nationally televised games

For various reasons, these are the five national TV games Pels fans will be especially interested in:

Oct. 4@Chicago Bulls 8:30 PM: TNT

This is a preseason game but there are a couple of reasons to watch. We will always be curious about what Lonzo Ball is up to and to get a chance to see him play against his former team. But all of the spotlight will be on Zion Williamson. Will he play? How much? How does he look? Is he in great shape? Did the private chef work? It’s only a preseason game but Pelicans fans are going to be tuned in.

October 28@Phoenix Suns 9:00 PM: ESPN

This is the first of a couple of games against the Suns that will be nationally televised next season. This makes sense, as the league is trying to stoke the flames of the rivalry that was started in last season’s playoffs. CP3 against Jose Alvarado is a matchup fans have been looking forward to since game six ended.

November 15 vs. Memphis Grizzlies 6:30 PM: TNT

The Southwestern Division is going to be tough this season and the Grizzlies will be the team to beat until further notice. The Pels already have a rivalry with the Grizz because of the Ja Morant/Zion connection as well as having diehard fans in smaller markets who defend their guys. The fans fight on Twitter and both teams will be fighting for playoff position. This will be a great check-in to see where the Pelicans are.

November 21 vs. Golden State Warriors 7:00 PM: NBA TV

The Pels will get another nationally televised test against the reigning MVP champs just a few days later. It’s always exciting when Stephen Curry comes to town and this matchup will give the Pels a really good idea of where they stand against the elite of the NBA. The Smoothie King Center will be packed and rocking and the Pels will be looking to make a statement.

February 15th@ Los Angeles Lakers 9:00 PM: ESPN

By February we’ll have a pretty good idea of where these two teams stand. The Pels are hoping to rise in the Western Conference to one of the top seeds, and also hope the Lakers are headed in the opposite direction because New Orleans has the right to swap draft picks with the Lakers after next season. The Pels could not only help their playoff chances by winning this one, but will hopefully be knocking the Lakers into the lottery so they can once again cash in on their pick.

New Orleans will be must-see TV next season, as they are one of the most exciting young teams in the league and have a number of interesting subplots against the other good teams.

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