NBA G League tips off 2017-18 season on Nov. 3

The newly renamed NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league, will tip off the 2017-18 season on Friday, Nov. 3.

Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors), the 2016-17 NBA G League champion, begins defense of its title by visiting Grand Rapids Drive on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. ET.  The reigning champion’s first home game will be against the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets) on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. ET.

A record 26 teams will compete in the NBA G League’s 17th season, including four expansion clubs owned by NBA franchises: the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (LA Clippers), Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks), Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies) and Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks).  Each team will play a 50-game schedule that concludes in March 2018.

The 2017-18 season also features several relocated or rebranded teams.  The Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic), Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves) and South Bay Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers) will play in new cities or with new names.  In addition, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers) and Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings) unveiled new identities to align with their parent club’s color schemes.

As part of the schedule, stretches where teams play four games in five nights have been eliminated and the number of back-to-back games have been reduced to an all-time low.  This marks the first NBA G League season with no four-in-fives.  Back-to-backs have been cut to an average of 7.0 per team, a 19 percent reduction from 8.6 per team last season.

The new-look Erie BayHawks begin their tenure under Atlanta ownership when they visit the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons) on opening night at 7 p.m. ET.  The five-game schedule on the first day of the season culminates with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario making their NBA G League debut at home against the Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors) at 10 p.m. ET.

The Memphis Hustle opens its first NBA G League season by hosting the Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat) on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. ET, while the Wisconsin Herd debuts at the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets) on Monday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. ET.