While the opponents never change year over year, the details do when it comes to the NBA’s schedule which makes Thursday’s announcement of the Lakers schedule always an exciting day.
Pieces of the schedule had already leaked with the first two games of the season, Christmas Day vs. Boston and the group games for the in-season tournament all were previously known. Thursday offered a chance to fill in all the gaps.
With so much revealed at once, let’s break it down to get a closer look at the schedule
Two things that people often look for out of the gate are the number of back-to-backs and how often their team is on national television. With the Lakers, they will tie for the league-lead in back-to-backs this season with 15.
The Lakers have 15 back-to-backs — one more than the league average of 14 this season. They had 12 back-to-backs in each of the previous two seasons. https://t.co/l43a3ccl9K— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) August 17, 2023
This season, every team has between 13 and 15 back-to-backs, so there isn’t much in the way of variation or advantage overall from the number of back-to-backs.
The Lakers also will have 12 games where they will have the rest disadvantage this season, according to the great site Positive Residual. That figure is second-most in the league. The flip side to that is rest advantage, which the Lakers will have seven times this season, third-fewest in the league.
When it comes to national TV, predictably, the Lakers are one of the league leaders.
Lakers & Warriors tie for the most ABC/ESPN/TNT games this season.— Ry (@JustRyCole) August 17, 2023
28 a piece for both.
Regardless of how good they are, the Lakers are on TV a lot. But give LeBron a competitive team and they’re going to be showcased to the maximum.
While (hopefully) it won’t be anything like last season, the Lakers are going to have a rough start to the season. Of the team’s first nine games, six of those will be on the road and all but three of them will be against playoff teams.
It won’t be a 2-11 start, but it’ll be a daunting schedule out of the gate, which is different from last season when it was supposed to be a relatively easy stretch of the year.
The Lakers’ longest road trip of the season is a pair of six-game trips, the first at the end of January and into February that will see them travel to Golden State and Houston before hitting the opposite coast with games against Atlanta, Boston, New York and Charlotte.
The other six-game road trip comes near season’s end in late March and the beginning of April. While it starts with games against Milwaukee and Memphis, it should be more forgiving with stops in Indiana, Brooklyn, Toronto and Washington.
On the other end, the Lakers have some lengthy stays at home, but none longer than at the end of February and into March. Officially, it’s a six-game homestand, which is their longest of the year, and includes games against Washington, Denver, OKC, Sacramento, Milwaukee and Minnesota.
However, the run starts with a “road” game against the Clippers. Then, after traveling to Sacramento for a one-off game at the end of the road trip, they have four more home games. That means from February 28 until March 24, they leave Los Angeles once with that trip only being a flight upstate.
While the Lakers are going to have a tough beginning of the season, the close might be a bit more lenient. Technically, of the team’s final nine games, only four come against non-playoff teams.
However, one of those teams is the No. 8 seed Timberwolves and another is the Nets, a team that was not a playoff team at season’s end. Six of those games will come on the road but the three home ones are three of the toughest in Minnesota, Golden State and Cleveland.
It’s the easiest stretch of the season but it could allow the Lakers a decent run-in heading into the playoffs.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.