By Josh Cohen
Aug. 14, 2017
Wed., Dec. 6 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 9 @ Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 8 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Sun., Apr. 1 @ Atlanta, 6 p.m.
The Hawks are in renovation mode after the departures of Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway Jr. Now, it’s Dennis Schroder’s team and an opportunity for him to show the league that he can be an All-Star caliber point guard.
Sun., Nov. 5 @ Orlando, 6 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 24 @ Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 21 @ Boston, 1 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 16 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Celtics landed their prime free agent target, Gordon Hayward, and they hope the most recent pair of No. 3 overall draft picks, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, are each ready to make a significant impact. Isaiah Thomas also expects to show that he is worth a max contract when he hits free agency next summer.
Fri., Oct. 20 @ Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 24 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 1 @ Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 28 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Nets landed D’Angelo Russell in a blockbuster trade with the Lakers in June. It will be interesting to see how he and Jeremy Lin coexist in that backcourt. Brooklyn also has high hopes for Caris LeVert, who showed flashes of excellence in the second half of last season.
Sun., Oct. 29 @ Charlotte, 6 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 4 @ Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 14 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Fri., Apr. 6 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Hornets made one of the summer’s most attention-grabbing trades when they acquired Dwight Howard from the Hawks. Will Malik Monk make an immediate impact and does Kemba Walker have another gear? Also, will Nicolas Batum return to the small forward spot after having a so-so year at the two?
Fri., Nov. 3 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 20 @ Chicago, 8 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 12 @ Chicago, 8 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 30 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Bulls appear to be in rebuild mode after trading Jimmy Butler on draft night. They did get back a plethora of young talent in the deal, including Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen.
Sat., Oct. 21 @ Cleveland, 8 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 6 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 18 @ Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 6 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Will Kyrie Irving still be in a Cavs uniform when the Magic visit Cleveland during the first week of the season? Also, LeBron James’ impending free agency next summer will be a major storyline all year.
Tue., Jan. 9 @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 4 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Mavs hope Dennis Smith Jr. is their long-term answer at point guard and they hope Dirk Nowitzki has some more fuel in the tank before he contemplates retirement.
Sat., Nov. 11 @ Denver, 9 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 8 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Nuggets hit a homerun with the signing of Paul Millsap. They hope he and Nikola Jokic will complement each other well. Denver also has a collection of young and talented players in the backcourt including Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay.
Sun., Dec. 17 @ Detroit, 4 p.m.
Thur., Dec. 28 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 2 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Pistons need Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson to play the way they did two seasons ago if they want to return to the postseason. They also believe the addition of Avery Bradley will give them some much-needed defensive toughness and tenacity.
Golden State Warriors
Mon., Nov. 13 @ Golden State, 10:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 1 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Let’s just say it will be quite shocking if the Warriors don’t repeat as champions. They have four future Hall of Famers in their prime.
Wed., Jan. 3 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 30 @ Houston, 8 p.m.
All eyes will be on James Harden and Chris Paul and if they have the right chemistry or not. Also, the Rockets have been rumored to be the team Carmelo Anthony wants to be traded to.
Mon., Nov. 20 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 27 @ Indiana, 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 27 @ Indiana, 7 p.m.
The Pacers shocked everyone when they chose the Thunder’s trade offer for Paul George. Nonetheless, perhaps Victor Oladipo playing in familiar territory and Myles Turner’s rapid development could help Indiana overcome George’s departure.
Wed., Dec. 13 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 10 @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
The Clippers stuck with Blake Griffin after trading Chris Paul to the Rockets shortly before free agency began. Can Griffin and DeAndre Jordan continue to thrive without Paul in the picture?
Wed., Jan. 31 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 7 @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
There is so much hype surrounding Lonzo Ball and it’s now magnified after his MVP performance in summer league. There are other storylines in L.A., though. Will Brandon Ingram have a breakout sophomore year and are people sleeping on Brook Lopez and what he can contribute to the Lakers?
Wed., Nov. 1 @ Memphis, 8 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 3 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Despite a few subtractions (Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Vince Carter), the Grizzlies should still be an elite defensive team. And with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley leading the way, Memphis will likely fight for one of the final playoff spots in the West.
Wed., Oct. 18 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 26 @ Miami, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 30 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 5 @ Miami, 7:30 p.m.
The Heat retained Dion Waiters and James Johnson and will get Justise Winslow (shoulder) back. They weren’t able to entice Gordon Hayward in free agency, however. Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic hope to build momentum off last year’s second half surge.
Wed., Jan.10 @ Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 10 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Wed., March 14 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Mon., Apr. 9 @ Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
How far can Giannis Antetokounmpo take the Bucks and are we already forgetting about Jabari Parker after his second ACL tear? Also, is Thon Maker a player we should pay attention to? He showed flashes of defensive brilliance in the playoffs last year.
Wed., Nov. 22 @ Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 16 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Wolves have an exciting young trio (Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler). They also added Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson in free agency. But, who’s going to shoot the 3-ball? That’s the one major deficiency Minnesota still appears to have.
New Orleans Pelicans
Mon., Oct. 30 @ New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 22 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
We should quickly learn if an Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins frontcourt tandem will work. Also, can Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo be an effective point guard duo?
New York Knicks
Wed., Nov. 8 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 3 @ New York, 3:30 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 22 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Tue., Apr. 3 @ New York, 7:30 p.m.
It’s still a wait-and-see on the whole Carmelo Anthony trade front. Will Kristaps Porzingis take the next step in his development after peculiar trade speculation around draft night?
Oklahoma City Thunder
Wed., Nov. 29 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 26 @ Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
Russell Westbrook has a new All-Star teammate on his side. Will the addition of Paul George be enough to catapult the Thunder back into title contention?
Sat., Nov. 25 @ Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 24 @ Philadelphia, 5 p.m.
Thu., March 22 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Will Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons be healthy for an entire season and how quickly can Markelle Fultz adjust to NBA speed? The Sixers have an exciting young core and the additions of J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson gives them some veteran stability.
Fri., Nov. 10 @ Phoenix, 10 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 24 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Suns have an intriguing young roster. We know Devin Booker is on the fast track to a fabulous career. What will we see from Josh Jackson in his first year and will Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender each show substantial improvement?
Portland Trail Blazers
Wed., Nov. 15 @ Portland, 10 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 15 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
The Blazers feature an electrifying backcourt with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Will Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins provide the frontcourt help they need to rise up in the West?
Tue., Jan. 23 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 9 @ Sacramento, 10 p.m.
The Kings added some proven vets (Zach Randolph, George Hill and Vince Carter). However, their long-term success hinges on the play of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein. Also, Bogdan Bogdanovic will make his highly anticipated NBA arrival this season.
San Antonio Spurs
Fri., Oct. 27 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Tue., Mar. 13 @ San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.
The Spurs added Rudy Gay, who missed a large portion of last season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Also, Tony Parker injured his quad during the playoffs and likely won’t return until December. San Antonio needs LaMarcus Aldridge to return to familiar form and, of course, Kawhi Leonard has to continue to be an MVP candidate.
Wed., Feb. 28 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Tue., Mar. 20 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Sun., Apr. 8 @ Toronto, 6 p.m.
The Raptors chose to re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka this offseason. They also have DeMar DeRozan locked into a long-term contract. Now, they hope they can preserve their place in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Sat., Nov. 18 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Mon., Mar. 5 @ Utah, 9 p.m.
Losing Gordon Hayward to Boston will be tough to overcome. But, now we will find out if Rudy Gobert can carry Utah to a second straight playoff berth. Also, Donovan Mitchell looks like a promising young player.
Sat., Dec. 23 @ Washington, 7 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 12 @ Washington, 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 3 @ Orlando, 7 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 11 @ Orlando, 8 p.m.
The Wizards will have virtually the same core that came within one game of a conference finals berth last season. There are still some concerns about their depth considering Jodie Meeks was the only veteran piece they added in free agency.