Following a stellar 2020-21 season, the Phoenix Suns are looking to build upon a Western Conference Championship and run to the NBA Finals as they head into next season. The first step in doing so is to gain an understanding of how next season will be constructed.
The NBA released the remainder of the regular season schedule on Friday afternoon after teasing us with Opening Week and Christmas Day scheduling earlier in the week, both of which featured the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns will open the regular season at home against last season’s MVP, Nikola Jokic, and the team they swept out of the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets. They will end te regular season at home against the Sacramento Kings.
In all of it’s glory, here is the 2021-22 Phoenix Suns regular season schedule:
At first glance, you can’t hep but notice the attention the Phoenix Suns will receive next season. They will be heavily featured on the national stage, appearing a total of 34 times outside of the Phoenix market. This is a far cry from the 2019-20 schedule in which the Suns appeared just once in front of a national TV audience.
Going to the NBA Finals will increase your footprint (no Footprint Center pun intended). I think back to the season following a run to the 2016 NFC Championship Game for the Arizona Cardinals. When you have success, the world wants a piece. It’s the Suns’ turn to feel some of that love.
Here is your breakdown of Phoenix Suns basketball on national outlets:
- 11 times on ESPN
- 11 times on NBA TV
- 9 times on TNT
- 3 times on ABC
*— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) August 20, 2021
34 nationally televised games. Franchise record. Go time! pic.twitter.com/lPXjL7QN5J
Next season will see the NBA returning to it’s 82-game format, something the league has not seen since the 2018-19 due to COVID-19.
The setup is the same:
- Home and home with Eastern Conference opponents (accounts for 30 games)
- Four games against the four Pacific Division rivals (accounts for 16 games)
- Three games against all other Western Conference teams (accounts for 30 games)
That leaves six games remaining to fill, which is used versus a combination of the remaining ten Western Conference teams. The six that Phoenix will play are Utah, Portland, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and Houston four times rather than three.
Seeing as only the Jazz and Blazers made the playoffs last season, this is a favorable scheduling perk for the Suns next season. Perhaps that is why Phoenix is considered to have one of the easier schedules entering next season.
NBA 2021-22 Strength of Schedule: Average expected win margin vs every team's opponents. (ie for each team, the avg of opponents strength over every game on their schedule.)— Ed Kupfer (@EdKupfer) August 20, 2021
Strength estimates derived from Vegas win O/U. ExpPts adjusted for Home Court & Rest Days Advantage. pic.twitter.com/Gc9xEQn6j8
Now we all know that is a bunch of over-analyzation malarkey, but still, I’d like to see the Suns on the left side of a malarkey graph than the right.
Phoenix will have a total of 14 back-to-backs in the 2021-22 regular season, which includes only one occurring at home (February 15 vs. LAC, February 16 vs. HOU). Of the remaining 13 back-to-backs, 9 occur on the road and 4 are home/road splits.
Another observation, this coming from @SunsFansUK on Twitter, is the gauntlet that will be the week of Thanksgiving for the Suns. Between November 21 and 27, Phoenix will play 5 games in 7 nights, including 4 on the road, ending with a back-to-back against the Knicks and Nets.
The longest homestand of the season occurs very, very early for Phoenix. The team hosts 5 teams to the Footprint Center in games #4 through #8. The longest road trip of the season is a 5-game swing that occurs in January, as Phoenix flies to Toronto, Detroit, Indiana, San Antonio, and ends in Dallas.
Much akin to last season, the Suns will have to be road warriors as the finish out the campaign. 13 of their last 19 games will be away from home.
Although it’s damn near impossible to predict a final record the day the schedule is released, let’s ask you anyways.
You now have the schedule. How many games will the Phoenix Suns win in the 2021-22 regular season?
This poll is closed