NBA teams are getting a welcome change in how the league organizes its 82-game schedule, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Resting players has been a controversial issue in the league for years, and with a few tweaks to how the NBA’s schedule works, the hope is that strain is alleviated going forward.
The season is set to start a week earlier in October, providing extra cushion to help spread out games further. This is an effort that will also have the partnership of the players’ union to help create an improved schedule for both players and teams.
From a league standpoint, protecting both the health of its players and integrity of games is paramount. Discord over star players sitting out games for rest, despite being healthy enough to play, has only grown louder as it becomes a more common practice.
The league is preparing to launch the 2017-2018 regular season schedule, giving teams a chance to petition changes before going live. Back-to-back numbers, large stretches of games (four games in five nights) and other heavy portions of the schedule are some of the big adjustments being made.
Here’s a list of some of the changes expected to be effective immediate, via Windhorst:
• Eliminating stretches of four games in five days and 18 games in 30 days.
• Reduction of five games in seven nights to just 40 instances across (1.3 per team), down from last year when it was on the schedule 90 times (three per team).
• Reduction in number of back-to-backs to 14.9 per team, down from 16.3 per team. In all, 40 back-to-backs have been eliminated from last season.
• Reduction of single-game road trips by 17 percent.
• Reduction in single-game road trips over 2,000 miles by 67 percent; there are only 11 of them on schedule.
• Increase in weekend games from 549 to 568, much of the boost coming on Saturdays. Previously the NBA avoided Saturdays and Sunday afternoons during football season to dodge conflicts.
More Lakers on the weekend, less back-to-backs and more sensible road trips? What’s not to love.