NBA Schedule 2021-22: League Releases Official Regular-Season SlateAugust 20, 2021
A wide-open NBA season will kick off Oct. 19 with prime-time games between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Golden State Warriors.
The 2021-22 season represents a return to normalcy after a condensed 2020-21 campaign. Each team will once again play 82 games from October to April, hopefully keeping more players fresh after injuries played a major role in last season's playoffs. Stars like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Anthony Davis were among those who missed time as their teams were eliminated.
It could also mean more challengers for the Bucks as they look to repeat as NBA champions. Giannis Antetokounmpo and company return most of their key players from the 2021 title run, but healthier rosters across the league could create a lot more contenders next season.
With many other squads getting stronger in the offseason, no one knows what to expect heading into 2021-22. Here is a look at the schedule that each team will have to navigate to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Oct. 19: First Day of Season
Feb. 18-20: All-Star Weekend
April 10: Regular Season Ends
April 12-15: Play-In Tournament
April 16: Playoffs Begin
The Lakers and Nets were the two heavy favorites to win it all for much of last season, and they will go into next season as top contenders once again thanks to the proven talent throughout the two rosters.
Brooklyn has its same trio of Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant, but this time around, the squad will have more time together to develop some chemistry. The Nets had just seven regular-season games with all three players in the lineup because of a variety of injuries, totaling just 202 minutes on the court together, per Marc Stein.
They all thrived individually with a combined 78.4 points per game, but added time playing alongside each other can lead to more success in the postseason. With Patty Mills and Blake Griffin providing depth, Brooklyn should win a lot of games next season.
Meanwhile, the Lakers made a big swing in the offseason by trading for Russell Westbrook, putting another perennial All-Star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. A mix of veterans like Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard along with younger players like Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn round out the roster, featuring a lot of players who can help win games.
Beyond these star-heavy teams, last season's playoffs showed that contenders can come from a lot of different places.
The Phoenix Suns reached the NBA Finals last season before re-signing leader Chris Paul to keep together its elite backcourt with Devin Booker. Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks will also hope to build off their run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Adding in the Utah Jazz, who had the best record in the NBA last season, these teams will hope retaining their own core will be enough to get over the hump toward a title.
The offseason is also still far from over with big names like Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal among those potentially changing teams amid trade speculation. Any of these deals could help change the landscape of the league going into 2021-22.
Everyone is still trying to catch Milwaukee, a team led by a two-time MVP in Antetokounmpo plus elite secondary options in Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. The Bucks finally broke through after multiple years of playoff disappointment and will try to keep their confidence heading into next season.
It could create an exciting year as top squads jockey for playoff positioning that will set them up for a title run.