SBNation.com is proud to announce the field for the 2011-12 League Pass Cup. The League Pass Cup, established in October 2010 and quickly abandoned, and thus never awarded, pits the teams least likely to be seen on national TV against each other in the quest for a nonexistent trophy. If ever there were a such thing as a moral victory, this would be it.
This season, 10 teams will appear on ESPN, TNT or ABC just once or not at all in the regular season. While these teams will appear on NBA TV multiple times, that network still has a far smaller reach than the other broadcasters, and as such is removed from our tally. The League Pass Cup seeks to reward the teams that can really only be seen consistently if you live in market or subscribe to League Pass. Only the cult favorites may apply. (Also, awful teams no one likes may apply.)
Speaking of which, here's the field:
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks enter the LP Cup as a contender, not in the least because three of the other clubs are in their division.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons not only get no national TV love (one game), but none from the NBA TV schedulers either, as they'll appear on that network just once this season.
Houston Rockets: Houston, one of the two Western Conference clubs in the LP Cup, is the prohibitive favorite. It's stunning that national TV audiences won't get to see the Rockets until potentially the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers are right behind Houston in the preseason odds on the LP Cup.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs do have a single NBA TV date.
Toronto Raptors: ... as do the Raptors. Sadly, that NBA TV game does not match up the Cavs against the Raptors, which would be must-see LP Cup action.
Obviously, with two West teams and eight East teams, some teams will play for more LP Cup games than others. Winning percentage will rule the day, which may not be fair to the East combatants, but that will make this the first thing in American sports history that isn't fair to the East combatants, so stick it, East.
Here's the LP Cup schedule for the first week of the season. (Wait, do we have to call these fixtures?)
Monday, Dec. 26
Nets at Wizards
Bucks at Bobcats
Raptors at Cavaliers
Pistons at Pacers
Tuesday, Dec. 27
Wolves at Bucks
Wednesday, Dec. 28
Pacers at Raptors
Cavaliers at Pistons
Friday, Dec. 30
Cavaliers at Pacers
Wizards at Bucks
Saturday, Dec. 31
Pacers at Pistons
Sunday, Jan. 1
Nets at Cavaliers
Every Monday, we'll update the standings and set out the weekly schedule. Get excited! It's the League Pass Cup!