There’s been a ton of debate, and consternation about the 66-game schedule upon which the NBA is about to embark. And virtually all of it, is about the volume of games being “crammed” into a short amount of time. And while it’s factual, two things to remember; the number of games only went “up” by ten percent (3.7/week as opposed to 3.4) and it will be the same for everyone.
What’s getting no mention, is the change in strength of schedule. And the fact that the unbalanced schedule will give certain teams an advantage and others, not so much.
Here’s what I mean. 57 of the 66 games will be the same for everyone (assuming that the East and West are relatively balanced, discuss amongst yourselves). Everyone will play 3 games against teams from their own conference and 1 against teams from the other conference.
The leaves nine games.
Can nine make that much of a difference from one team to the next?
It was unavoidable that the marquee teams would play more marquee games. But how does that play out. CBS Sports’ computer said the Celtics and Heat would have the toughest schedule. And a look at their extra nine games shows us why. But how does that compare to another, under-the-radar playoff contender? Let’s take a look.
For example, my dark horse in the East is Indiana. Small-market team, young, unknown head coach, so in theory, not a great television draw. What do the Pacers’ nine extra games look like compared to the Celtics and Heat? Do your own tale-of-the-tape.
2011-2002 NINE EXTRA GAME OPPONENTS
BOSTON MIAMI INDIANA
LA LAKERS LA LAKERS GOLDEN STATE
DALLAS DALLAS MINNESOTA
OKLAHOMA CITY OKLAHOMA CITY NEW ORLEANS
MIAMI BOSTON CLEVELAND
CHICAGO CHICAGO NEW JERSEY
WASHINGTON ORLANDO ORLANDO
TORONTO PHILADELPHIA PHILADELPHIA
INDIANA ATLANTA BOSTON
NEW YORK INDIANA MIAMI
It’s almost as dramatic for the Lakers in the West, whose extra games include Boston, Miami, New York and Dallas.
They say this season will be like no other in NBA history.
Looking at things like this…makes me think they’re right.