The Wolves Should Use Their Lack Of National TV Games As Motivation

Photo Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday afternoon, the NBA released the 2023-24 regular season schedule for all teams. The Minnesota Timberwolves will be opening their season on the road against the Toronto Raptors on October 25th and playing their home opener against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat on the 28th.

Before the regular season slate became official, the NBA announced the inaugural In-Season Tournament schedule. As a part of West Group C, the Wolves will play their first four tournament games against the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Since it’s an “in-season tournament,” all four of those games are on the regular-season schedule. The only difference? A higher level of competitive play. At least, that’s what the NBA hopes will happen. Being that this is a new event in the league, you’d think getting the word and pulling in big viewership would be a high priority. However, the Timberwolves are one of four Western Conference teams (Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and New Orleans Pelicans) that does not have a nationally televised in-season game.

I wasn’t too concerned when I saw this because the NBA has a tight schedule to work with. Out of the five teams in Minnesota’s group, the Timberwolves would probably draw in the least amount of regional viewers due to Wembymania. However, I, along with most fans, did not expect the Wolves only to have 10 total National TV games all season (including NBA TV).

Many Wolves fans, including myself, were disappointed – but not surprised – to see this. The Timberwolves have been a part of the NBA’s laughing circle for quite some time. Historical events like passing on Stephen Curry twice and the whole Jimmy Buckets saga. However, things have been different since Anthony Edwards arrived. Most NBA fans enjoy watching him hoop and think he’s destined to do great things.

Edwards and his stardom should have been enough to give Minnesota more than 16 nationally televised games, which was the amount they had last season. However, there was a high level of hype around the team last August with the splashy addition of Rudy Gobert. And after the team under-exceeded expectations last season, it appears that the NBA has moved to teams that will bring in more revenue. After all, the Spurs were able to rake in 22 appearances on national TV this season.

That’s nothing new, though. If you were to ask pretty much any Timberwolves fan, I’m sure they would tell you that the team has been slept on for years. And while some of that is warranted, it feels like Minnesota is finally turning the corner that everyone was hoping it would. The fanbase is ready, and so are the players and coaches. Now, the team will need to prove that they are must-see TV. Because, ultimately, you know what the regular season comes down to? The postseason – a part of the year in which every game is on national TV. The Timberwolves will receive all the positive attention over the airwaves they are seeking if the club can show up and show out in the playoffs.

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Photo Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

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