It’s bound to be a very different kind of season for the Utah Jazz.
New head coach, very different-looking roster, and likely a big change in terms of goals and aspirations. And yet, there will still be 82 total games to be played — four against every Northwest Division opponent, at least three vs. every other Western Conference team, and two apiece against each of the teams in the East.
The team’s schedule was released Wednesday afternoon. Here are some of the highlights.
Who are the Jazz facing first? The regular season and the official start of the Will Hardy era gets going against the two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Vivint Arena.
There’s no getting around it — it’s gonna be weird seeing Rudy Gobert in a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey. It’s gonna be especially weird seeing him play against the Jazz. It’ll happen for the first time on Oct. 21, in Minneapolis (the Jazz’s second game of the season, and first on the road). Gobert will return to Vivint Arena for the first time as an opponent on Dec. 9.
Sometimes in the midst of what’s been a tumultuous offseason, it almost gets overlooked that the team is now missing two starters from the past several seasons. Royce O’Neale was traded to Brooklyn right before the draft. His two games with the Nets against the Jazz will be Jan. 20 in Salt Lake City and April 2 in Brooklyn.
Not much national television love
The Jazz’s TV games will remain on AT&T SportsNet this season, much to the chagrin of fans who hoped for different streaming options.
If you want to get a sense of national expectations for the Jazz this season consider this: a season ago, the Jazz scheduled featured 26 nationally televised games. The team is only scheduled to have four games on national networks this season. Three of them will be on NBATV (Nov. 19 at Portland, Nov. 21 at the Clippers, and Dec. 22 vs. the Wizards). The other one? That would be their home game against the New York Knicks … on TNT. Hmmmmmm …
Facing the Knicks … singled out here for no particular reason
Why the Knicks? It’s not like they could potentially play a significant factor in the Jazz’s future, right? In the event, though, that they become noteworthy down the road based on maybe, potentially acquiring a certain three-time All-Star guard (so oddly specific, right?), their games against the Jazz will be Nov. 15 at Vivint Arena (the TNT game) and Feb. 11 in Madison Square Garden.
It’s hard to say in this specific moment what the Jazz will look like once the games start, so its not a foregone conclusion — even if Donovan Mitchell sticks around — that the six-year playoff run will continue. So, with that out there, it’s entirely possible that the regular-season finale is the team’s last game of the season. That game will be on April 9 in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Various schedule minutiae
• Another familiar face is set to return on March 24, when Joe Ingles and the Milwaukee Bucks come to visit.
• Holiday games include Halloween (Oct. 31 for the uninitiated) at home vs. Memphis, New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) at home vs. the Miami Heat, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16), when they face Gobert and the Wolves again in Minnesota.
• Single-game tickets will be made available to the public beginning on Monday, Aug. 22.
• The longest homestand and road trip of the season are each six games. The six-game homestand takes place Nov. 28 through Dec. 9 (Bulls, Clippers, Pacers, Blazers, Warriors, Wolves). The six-game trip will be March 3-13 (Oklahoma City for two games, then Dallas, Orlando, Charlotte, Miami).
• There will be three portions of the season that will be heavily road-heavy. There will be two separate stretches in the first half of the season where they play six of seven games on the road (Nov. 2-13, with a home game on Nov. 7 sandwiched in; then Dec. 17-30 — two three-game road trips with a Dec. 22 home game in the middle). Post-All-Star break, they’ll have a stretch of 10 games out of 13 away from Vivint Arena (a four-game trip to Toronto, New York, Indiana, and Memphis, then a three-game homestand, followed by that six-game trip).
• The Jazz will play 15 sets of back-to-backs — 10 pre-All-Star break and five after. Six of them will include both games on the road, just two sets will see both games at home. Three begin with a road game followed by a home one, and four start at the Viv and conclude elsewhere.
• There are five occasions where the Jazz will face the same opponent in consecutive games: Oct. 24/26 against the Rockets, Oct. 29/31 against the Grizzlies, Dec. 13/15 against the Pelicans, Feb. 25/28 against the Spurs, and March 3/5 against the Thunder.
• The All-Star break will be Feb. 16-22, with the game taking place Feb. 19 at Vivint Arena.
• The Lakers are usually a big ticket at the Viv. L.A. first comes to SLC on Nov. 7.
• For those wanting to see the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors come to town on Dec. 7.