League Pass can be overwhelming on some nights. It’s too much of a good thing, and it’s hard to decide which games to watch. That’s why Today’s Fastbreak is telling you the best viewing option each night for an impartial viewer who just wants to soak up all the greatness the NBA has to offer. There are a few rules we follow on these recommendations:
1.) These rankings are for league pass games, so the national television games don’t count. As such, we’ll be skipping days that only have one non-national TV game, because there isn’t much of a choice.
2.) Most fans searching league pass like watching a variety of teams, so we try to spread it around each week. If you want to watch the Warriors or Cavaliers every night, it’s not like you need our help to decide which games to watch.
3.) The quality of basketball matters (duh), so we’ll try to avoid recommending teams on the second nights of back-to-backs when possible, or teams that have short-term injuries keeping out their best players. New Orleans is fun to watch, but, if Anthony Davis is missing two weeks, the viewing pleasure goes way down.
4.) That said, quality isn’t everything. Aesthetics matter as well, as do unique circumstances. If JaVale McGee talks trash to DeMarcus Cousins and Cousins says he can’t wait to play him again, Dallas-Sacramento will be appointment television the next time the teams play.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on to the matchups!
Wednesday, October 28th: New Orleans at Portland
With the best game of the night at 7:00 p.m. on national television, we turned our focus to the late games to find a good one.
If you like superstars with heavy workloads, this game is for you! With Omer Asik and Tyreke Evans out and Jrue Holiday still returning to form, Davis is going to get a ton to do. It’s the first look at him in Alvin Gentry’s offense, which unleashes all of his potential, and Meyers Leonard and Mason Plumlee will be attempting to stop him. It’s going to be terrifying and spectacular.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard lost every other player he started with last season, as Portland starts its rebuilding project. Lillard will have the green light as soon as he crosses half court this year, and he’s got the ability to make almost any shot. It’ll be fun to watch him every night, especially when the other team has a superstar as well.
This game is as likely as any to have players on both sides of the ball go for 40-plus. It’s a chance to see Gentry’s team in New Orleans and the new-look Trail Blazers. At the very least, this game will produce some awesome highlight reel plays.
Friday, October 30th: Washington at Milwaukee
Two teams that look to take a big step forward this season will square off in the first week. The young Bucks feature a returning Jabari Parker and newly acquired Greg Monroe, plus Khris Middleton fresh off a new deal. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be making his season debut, because he is suspended for the opener.
Washington looks to push the pace this year, and should be a much better watch. It seems like Randy Wittman is finally giving John Wall the keys to the car, and he’ll be exhilarating. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter could take huge steps this year, as well.
For this matchup, it’ll be fascinating seeing Wall try to use his blinding speed against one of the longest and most athletic group of perimeter players in the league. Slowing down Wall is hard to do, but few teams are better equipped than Milwaukee. Can he still create the chaos he normally does against Michael Carter-Williams and company?
Saturday. October 31st: Utah at Indiana
Normally, I advise against teams on the second night of back-to-backs, but the slate of games isn’t very appetizing on Saturday. So, Utah and Indiana still seems like the best bet, even with Utah in Philadelphia the night before.
Utah is the most common pick for the final playoff spot in the West, and the team has a bunch of young, exciting players in their second year in Quin Snyder’s system. The team was excellent down the stretch last year once Enes Kanter left, and it inserted Rudy Gobert into the starting lineup.
Indiana is going to be intriguing this year, as the team is undergoing a dramatic philosophical change with the same coaching staff in place—a rare occurrence. Paul George plays against the bruising Zach Randolph on Tuesday and has a date with the very talented Derrick Favors in this matchup. George gives up about 30 pounds to Favors, so it’ll be interesting to see if Favors can take advantage.
On the other end, Gordon Hayward will likely guard George, leaving Favors to cross match on C.J. Miles. Cross-matching is always interesting in transition, especially for two teams who emphasized pushing the pace more in the offseason.
Gordon Hayward returns home to Indiana and is one of the best NBA players that’s still a little under the radar. This will be the year everyone realizes how good he is, so make sure to watch him early on in the season.
Sunday, November 1: San Antonio at Boston
The best coach in the league matches wits with the best up-and-coming skipper. Brad Stevens has tried to emulate the Spurs offense in Boston and has made the team much more relevant doing so.
Boston finally has real depth on the front line, and it’ll need that against LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan. Both teams will utilize the bench, and Marcus Smart and Kawhi Leonard will put the clamps on defensively.
San Antonio is clearly in a different class than Boston right now, but the two teams play a fun style and have several similarities. You’ll get to see how Aldridge fits in, and if Boston looks like a team that could challenge for homecourt in the first round.