The remodeled Washington Wizards will have to wait before making their debut in front of home fans at Capital One Arena.
The Wizards released their 2019-20 schedule Monday, and for the first time in 36 years the team will start the regular season on a three-game road trip. Washington’s season tips off Oct. 23 in Dallas against the Mavericks and reigning rookie of the year Luka Doncic.
With a new-look starting lineup surrounding all-star guard Bradley Beal — but without the services of John Wall, the franchise point guard who will be rehabilitating from an Achilles’ injury — the Wizards could endure an up-and-down 82-game season.
Here’s a glance at some of the more interesting matchups and stretches on the schedule:
Opening road woes
The Wizards are no stranger to opening the season away from home, having done so in five of the past seven seasons. But this team will join the 1983-84 Bullets with a rare three-game road trip to start the year.
After Dallas, the Wizards will travel to meet the Oklahoma City Thunder (Oct. 25) and finish the trip the following night against the San Antonio Spurs.
These cities have not been kind to the Wizards: Washington has dropped three straight games in Dallas, and although the Wizards won in Oklahoma City last season for the first time in franchise history, the team has lost 19 straight games in San Antonio.
The King and Kawhi
Washington’s first extended road trip comes near the end of November with a four-game, six-day journey against Western Conference teams, starting Nov. 26 against the Denver Nuggets, who won 54 games last season.
After a visit to the Phoenix Suns and old friend Kelly Oubre Jr. (Nov. 27), the trip moves to Los Angeles, where the Wizards will play the Lakers (Nov. 29) and the Clippers (Dec. 1).
Los Angeles should be the epicenter of the NBA this season, with two powerhouse teams vying for supremacy. The Clippers arguably won the offseason by landing free agent Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA championship, and simultaneously orchestrating a trade to acquire Paul George from the Thunder.
Across the hallway at Staples Center, the Lakers will team up LeBron James with Anthony Davis, acquired in a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Wizards get little national exposure
The Wizards finished 32-50 last season and did not make a splashy summer move. So it’s no surprise Washington has been mostly boxed out of national television.
Although things can change as the season develops and teams make cases for more exposure, the Wizards have only one game on the national schedule — Nov. 8 against the Cleveland Cavaliers on ESPN.
The team will be off Christmas Day but will host a Martin Luther King Jr. Day afternoon showcase game, as usual, on Jan. 20 against the Detroit Pistons.
February home stretch
The NBA makes up for that early road trip by keeping the Wizards at home for much of February, when eight of their 11 games will be at Capital One Arena. The month also contains the long all-star break, so players will have more time to recuperate.
Despite all the home games, it could be a difficult month: The Wizards will host Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets (Feb. 1 and 26), Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors (Feb. 3) and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (Feb. 24).
Fans of other teams have a habit of flooding Chinatown when their favorite players come to town. Prepare for the bandwagon invasion on these dates:
- Oct. 30: The home opener against the Houston Rockets with James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
- Dec. 5: The Wizards’ first matchup against the beefed-up Philadelphia 76ers.
- Dec. 8: Another bout with Leonard, George and the Clippers for the second time in a week.
- March 28: The Wizards host James’s Lakers and their legion of purple-and-gold-covered fans.
- April 1: It’s no joke; No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson finally comes to town with the rest of the Pelicans.
Oct. 23 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. Houston, 8 p.m.
Nov. 2 vs. Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Nov. 4 vs. Detroit, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 vs. Cleveland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Nov. 13 at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 15 at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Nov. 17 at Orlando, 6 p.m.
Nov. 20 vs. San Antonio, 7 p.m.
Nov. 22 vs. Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Nov. 24 vs. Sacramento, 6 p.m.
Nov. 26 at Denver, 7 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Phoenix, 7 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Lakers, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1 at Clippers, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m.
Dec. 5 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Miami, 8 p.m.
Dec. 8 vs. Clippers, 6 p.m.
Dec. 10 at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 at Memphis, 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Dec. 18 vs. Chicago, 7 p.m.
Dec. 20 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Dec. 23 at New York, 7 p.m.
Dec. 26 at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Dec. 28 vs. New York, 8 p.m.
Dec. 30 vs. Miami, 7 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Orlando, 6 p.m.
Jan. 3 vs. Portland, 7 p.m.
Jan. 4 vs. Denver, 8 p.m.
Jan. 6 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Orlando, 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 vs. Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 vs. Utah, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Chicago, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 vs. Detroit, 2 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Atlanta, 6 p.m.
Jan. 28 at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.
Jan. 30 vs. Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 vs. Brooklyn, 8 p.m.
Feb. 3 vs. Warriors, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 vs. Dallas, 7 p.m.
Feb. 9 vs. Memphis, 6 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Chicago, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21 vs. Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Chicago, 6 p.m.
Feb. 24 vs. Milwaukee, 7 p.m.
Feb. 26 vs. Brooklyn, 7 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Utah, 7 p.m.
March 1 at Golden State, 5:30 p.m.
March 3 at Sacramento, 7 p.m.
March 4 at Portland, 7 p.m.
March 6 vs. Atlanta, 7 p.m.
March 8 vs. Miami, 7 p.m.
March 10 vs. New York, 7 p.m.
March 13 at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
March 15 vs. Oklahoma City, 6 p.m.
March 16 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
March 18 at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
March 20 at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
March 21 vs. Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
March 23 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
March 25 vs. Phoenix, 7 p.m.
March 27 at Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.
March 28 vs. Lakers, 8 p.m.
April 1 vs. New Orleans, 7 p.m.
April 3 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
April 5 at Indiana, 5 p.m.
April 7 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
April 10 at Houston, 7 p.m.
April 11 at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
April 13 at New Orleans, 7 p.m.
April 15 vs. Indiana, 7:30 p.m.