Can there be any doubt that Anthony Davis’ star is the fastest-rising in the NBA?
The Pelicans schedule released Wednesday lists 13 games national TV games featuring the All-NBA forward, including the Oct. 27 opener at defending champion Golden State on TNT. An additional eight games will be on NBA-TV.
Compare that to two last season before the playoffs when the Pels were swept by those same Warriors in their first playoff appearance since 2011.
“New Orleans has become an attractive option for us,” Doug White, EPSN’s senior director of programming said. “They have an exciting roster — led by Anthony Davis — who has already emerged as a superstar.
“They made the playoffs last year, and they appear poised to make an impact in the Western Conference.”
The 13 national TV games are just for ones through March 16 when the Pels make their second trip to play the Warriors, this time on ESPN. After that, the schedule of ESPN, ABC and TNT games is flexible.
One game is not on national TV — the Pelicans’ home opener will be against Golden State on Oct. 31 in the Smoothie King Center. It will be the only visit to New Orleans by the Warriors this season.
The Pels have a Nov. 28 game at Portland between their two early meetings against Golden State.
The opener will mark the debut of new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who was an assistant with the Warriors last season and will receive his championship ring in pre-game ceremonies.
“We have one of the NBA’s biggest stars in Anthony Davis and obviously people around the country are anxious to see him,” Pelicans corporate communications manager Lindsey Mitchell said. “And we’re also being recognized as young and exciting team that coach Gentry is going to have playing at a faster pace.
“People will get to see this team grow and get better. Last year’s playoff series created a lot of interest in our team.”
The schedule also includes a Christmas Day game at Miami, the first for the Pels since 2008 and a New Year’s Eve home game against Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers also play in New Orleans on March 20.
Other high-interest home games include LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 4, and division rivals San Antonio on Nov. 20 and March 3, Houston on Dec. 26 and Jan. 25, Dallas on Nov. 10 and Jan. 6 and Memphis on Dec. 1 and Feb. 1.
Oklahoma City, which the Pels beat out on a tie-breaker for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference last season, will visit on Feb. 25.
The Cleveland game along with the Nov. 20 San Antonio game plus games at Oklahoma City on Nov. 18, at Phoenix on Dec. 18, the Christmas game at Miami, at Memphis on Jan. 18 and at Houston on March 2 will all air on ESPN.
TNT games include the opener at Golden State, the Oklahoma City home game, the Jan. 14 game against the Los Angeles Lakers and the second home game against the Spurs, along with the Jan. 11 game at Oklahoma City.
Most of the other games will air on Fox Sports New Orleans, although that schedule has not yet been finalized.
Single-game tickets are not yet available, but the team announced Wednesday that three 12-game packages and two half-season packages are now on sale.
The 12-game plans include one that features only weekend games, including the opener, one that includes the Cleveland game plus home games against Southwestern Division rivals and other showcasing visiting stars such as Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant.
Mitchell said individual game tickets will go on sale in September.