NBA 2022-23 schedule release finally gives Cavs some national respect

Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the league’s most fun and surprising teams. Stocked with young talent and ascending stars, the Cavs paired two first-time All-Stars with a rookie phenom and doubled their win total in the process. The problem? No one outside of Ohio but rabid fans saw them do it.

When the NBA schedule for the 2021-22 season was announced last summer, there were a few glaring omissions. One of those was a complete lack of national television games for the Cleveland Cavaliers. No games on ABC, no games on ESPN, no games on TNT. By season’s end they flexed into a few NBA TV slots, but overall the Cavs were under the radar because they were off the screen.

The Cleveland Cavaliers now know when they will play next year. The NBA 2022-23 schedule release shows that the Cavs finally have some national respect.

Cavs fans felt confident that it wouldn’t happen again, that the NBA would finally grant them some level of national respect. The Cavs and their fans have a massive LeBron-sized chip on their shoulder and are out to prove they don’t need him to win big.

Thankfully, the Cavs and their confidence were not in vain. The NBA released the 2022-23 regular season schedule on Wednesday and with it all of the information on which television partner would televise each game. The vast majority of games will be shown on NBA League Pass and local networks, but a prominent few made the national television cut.

The NBA has its own station, NBA TV, and technically those games are national For the purposes of this article, however, we will be looking at the “real” national television games: those for ABC, ESPN and TNT.

After receiving 0 such games a year ago, this year’s Cavs will play in five nationally televised games, and another four on NBA TV. Those include a TNT visit from LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on December 6th, and an ESPN contest against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers late in the season.

That’s more in line with the middle class of the NBA than the dregs, which was where the NBA schedule-makers assumed the Cavs would be last year. For example, Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks received 8 national television games on ABC/ESPN/TNT. The Toronto Raptors and Scottie Barnes have four. The Charlotte Hornets have three.

There is certainly more mountain to be climbed here, however. The Cavs understandably didn’t factor into the NBA’s most important events. Cleveland doesn’t play on Opening Night, on Christmas Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If they blast the doors off of the gym like they did at the start of the season then they could certainly earn even more of a footprint next year.

As we digest the schedule we will provide an analysis on the key games, quirks and inherent advantages and disadvantages hidden within. For now, the big picture is that the Cavs aren’t a small-maker bottom-feeder anymore; they’re a team firmly in the playoff mix with plenty of rising stars, and the league saw fit to showcase that multiple times.