NBA fans are still waiting to see what the schedule for look like this season, but they got some good news on some changes to the way the league schedules games. According to a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the league is taking steps to reduce the number of back-to-backs for each team, in addition to eliminating the dreaded four games in five nights gauntlet from the league entirely.
According to Windhorst, these are the points of emphasis in a leaguewide memo sent out to teams early this week (bold emphasis mine):
Elimination four games in five days entirely and the elimination of stretches of 18 games over the 30 days.
Reduction of five games in seven nights to just 40 instances across the league (1.3 per team), down from last year when was on schedule 90 times (three per team).
Reduction in number of back-to-backs to 14.9 per team, down from 16.3 per team last season. In all, 40 back-to-backs have been eliminated from last season.
Reduction of often inefficient 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.
The first two bolded items are of particular interest to the Sixers, who have a very important big man they need to protect from injury as well as they can. Anything that eliminates—or at least dampens—the need for the team to rest Joel Embiid is a good thing. They’ll be cautious with him no matter what, but with the league making more natural recovery time available, it will give him the best chance to play in as many games as possible.
I’m also curious how the league will handle the increase in weekend games, and if that will mean any sort of uptick in national TV games. Generally, I like the concept of adding more weekend matinee games to the schedule, because it allows for a different sort of crowd to head down to the game that might not be able to otherwise. Hopefully more kids can create their first basketball memories at these games, and avoid falling asleep while doing so.
If Adam Silver is taking requests, there’s just one more I have for him—do us a solid and make sure the Sixers are on the low-end of all the numbers here. Since you stepped in to influence how the team should be run, the least you could do is cut them some slack on the schedule!