Ranking NBA teams by League Pass watch-ability; hint -- Bucks are hot, Hawks are not

Now that the NBA schedule is out, it's time to start thinking about upcoming viewing options. Some fans stick to their local outlets and national TV games. Others need as much NBA action as possible, and that's where League Pass comes in.

Fans buying League Pass want their money's worth, and that means paying attention to the right teams. Certain clubs are worth the money while others can be watched on National TV or just shouldn't be watched. So let's rank the teams by League Pass offerings, using the following criteria:  

  1. How often are they on National TV?
  2. Are they fun to watch on the floor?
  3. Is the team just a fun one to follow?
League Pass Power Rankings
1
The Bucks have have only 16 national TV games and a budding superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Fans will be dying to see more of him soon. Add in the youth and potential on the roster and there is a lot to be excited about with this team.
2
Everybody is excited to see the culmination 76ers' Process. Joel Embiid looked like a future face of the league last season. They have the past two overall No. 1 picks (Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons), and they signed veterans (J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson) to help them win. Philly could make a playoff run in the weak East (SportsLine projects 40.2 wins, good for the No. 7 seed).
3
It's hard to go wrong with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Pelicans could be good, but even if they're not there's always the potential for something combustible. They're only on national TV 14 times, so they're well worth the time and money. No matter what happens with the Pelicans, it will be interesting.
4
The Nuggets are interesting, with a prolific offense featuring Nikola Jokic. Add youngsters Jamal Murray and Gary Harris to veteran free agent signee Paul Millsap, and it only gets better. Denver will be entertaining, and a factor in the race for a postseason spot in the competitive West (SportsLine projects the seventh seed with 41.7 wins).
5
Minnesota disappointed last season, but pairing Jimmy Butler (through a trade) with Karl-Anthony Towns should make the Wolves should be pretty good this season (SportsLine projects MIN as the No. 5 West seed, wiith 46.6 wins). There's also a fascinating narrative questioning Andrew Wiggins' value. This will be one of the more entertaining teams to follow.
6
The Blazers have Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and added Jusuf Nurkic last season. Their defense was a train wreck, but the offense always has been a blast. They've dug themselves out of early season holes two seasons in a row. If they stumble early will they be able to do it again (SportsLine projects Portland at No. 9 in the West, at 39.2 wins)? They're on national TV 21 times.
7
They came within one win of reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season and John Wall looked like an MVP candidate. They rely on the strong core of Wall, Bradley Beal, and Marcin Gortat. Despite regular national TV appearances, Washington is always worth watching.
8
The Kings are young enough to be interesting and added enough veterans (George Hill, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter) to stay competitive. They have an excellent coach in Dave Joerger, who keeps them competitive most nights. Sacramento is one of the best late-night League Pass options.
9
The Raptors re-signed Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka to run this whole thing back. In the weak East, there's never been a better chance to grab the one seed. However, the Raptors can't afford to take a step back after passing on the chance to hit the reset button. All that makes them compelling.
10
The Rockets break the national TV rule with 40 games, but there is just too much going on here to skip over Houston. Chris Paul, James Harden, Mike D'Antoni, and they've been central to Carmelo Anthony trade rumors. This figures to result in the one of the great offenses or a colossal failure.
11
The Thunder also are too compelling to fall further down the list. Russell Westbrook and newly acquired Paul George can opt out of their contracts next summer. No team us under more pressure to achieve immediate results. Westbrook alone was worth the LP experience last season. Adding George makes this group OK-must see.
12
The Hornets are usually drama free, but Dwight Howard changes that. Charlotte took a risk on a player who has been known to blow everything up when he's unhappy. If it works out, the Hornets could reach new heights. They shoot a lot of 3-pointers, play great defense, and Kemba Walker is a blast.
13
There were two versions of the Heat last season -- one red hot and the other ... not so much after Dion Waiters was lost to injury. They should be competing for a playoff spot. With only 10 national TV games they're worth a look.
14
The Jazz lost Gordon Hayward, but added some nice pieces. They traded for Ricky Rubio and drafted Donovan Mitchell. It will be interesting to see just how much they miss Hayward, and if Rudy Gobert can help lead them back into the playoffs. They're only on national TV 10 times.
15
The Celtics added Hayward and Isaiah Thomas is in a contract year. Boston again will contend for the one seed in the East (SportsLine projections: 53.7 wins, 2 seed). The Celtics on national TV a lot (25 times!), but they figure to be one of the league's more compelling teams most every night with Hayward looking to prove himself and Thomas looking to get paid.
16
The Nets were awful last season, but they were fun for a bad team. Nobody played faster and they chucked 3-pointers. Now, they've added D'Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll. Brooklyn may have a playoff shot, but even if it comes up short, their style alone should be worth a watch. Their two national TV games are on NBA TV, making them LP-friendly.
17
The Suns haven't decided if they're going to rebuild or go after Kyrie Irving, but they've got enough young pieces to stay interesting. Devin Booker scored 70 points in a game at Boston last season and Josh Jackson is a rookie everybody is excited to see.
18
The champs have 43 national TV games, which means more than half their games aren't available on League Pass. However, their playing style makes them worth watching when they are on. The games often are blowouts, but that two- to five-minute stint of domination is worth it every time.
19
The Cavaliers are a hard sell. LeBron James makes them LP-friendly, but fans have no idea which Cavs team they'll get. Are they actually going to put forth an effort, or just cruise? They're on national TV 39 times, so there is no shortage of chances to see them -- League Pass or not.
20
The Lakers are young, and play a fun style. Is this the season they take a step forward? Probably not, but there's enough young talent (Lonzo Ball!) on this roster to make them watchable -- and you can see them plenty; L.A. is on national TV 35 times.
21
The Spurs are always ultra-efficient and Kawhi Leonard always swallows somebody up on defense. And San Antonio is always scare bood, but unless they're in a race at the end of the season they typically rest players by February. Not only that, they're on national TV 32 times.
22
The Clippers are going to be incredibly painful to watch. They already shot a lot of free throws, but with the addition of Danilo Gallinari they may shoot more. Some nights, the Clips will remind everyone of Lob City. But in between those dunks with be a whole lot of free throws. Watch something else. Catch the highlights later or see them in one of their 31 national TV games.
23
Grit n Grind may be gone with Randolph's departure, but are they going to continue their slow-paced style or will head in a new direction with youth and 3-point shooting? David Fizdale took steps toward the latter last season, but at this point the Grizzlies can't be trusted with your League Pass dollars.
24
The Knicks figure to be a hilarious off the court like always. However, when contemplating the best use of your LP dollars, the basketball part won't be worth watching. Not even Kristaps Porzingis can make them entertaining.
25
The Mavericks have fun moments, but they played the second-slowest pace in the NBA last season and their watchable moments lean heavilly on Dirk Nowitzki summoning a vintage performance. It's worth catching a Mavs game every once in awhile, but they aren't appointment viewing.
26
The Pistons were incredibly disappointing last season. Turning that around rests on Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson having bounce-back seasons with help from Avery Bradley -- acquired in a trade with Boston. Easier said than won. Don't bother until the Pistons prove something.
27
The Pacers were perfectly average last season, but now their best part Myles Turner. As fun as it is to watch Turner work, there are just too many questions to recommend ponying up for Indy. They didn't play a particuarly fun style last season, and there's little reason to believe Victor Oladipo or Domantas Sabonis will change that.
28
Few teams have been less compelling the past few seasons than the Magic. They may have exciting youngsters like Jonathan Isaac on the roster, but there is no reason to believe in Orlando right now. They have no 3-point shooting, too many centers, and their style of play is just brutal.
29
The Bulls traded their most entertaining player in Butler. The main prize of that trade, Zach Lavine, may miss the beginning of the season with an injury. Dwyane Wade is seeking a buyout. Rajon Rondo is gone. Don't pay extra to watch the Bulls -- if you watch them at all.
30
The Hawks are a 3-point shooting team that can't shoot, and that's not all. Their best shooter is probably Marco Belinelli and their best player, Paul Millsap, is in Denver. This is the start of a rebuild, so just avoid the Hawks in any form, let alone League Pass.
Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories