We’ve analyzed various components of the 2015-2016 NBA schedule here at Crossover Chronicles over the past few weeks.
Weekend back-to-backs. Overall back-to-backs. 4-in-5s. Day games. The three-game lottery. Scheduling successes and scheduling errors. We’ve covered a lot of ground. From our research, without any added editorializing or explanations, here are 30 facts to take away from the new NBA schedule:
30: There is a difference of at least three weekend back-to-backs between two clusters of Eastern Conference teams. Seven (BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, MIA, NY, WASH) have no more than three such back-to-backs, while three teams (DET, IND, MIL) have at least six.
29: There is a difference of at least three weekend back-to-backs between two clusters of Western Conference teams. Four (MIN, NOP, OKC, SAS) have no more than three, while six teams (DAL, HOU, LAL, PHX, POR, SAC) have at least six.
28: Oklahoma City, with no NHL or college-tenant competition in its own arena, scheduled three Sunday games in the evening before Monday road games, instead of scheduling them in the daytime.
27: There is a difference of 10 day games between the league leader (L.A. Clippers, 12) and the teams with the fewest day games (Indiana, San Antonio, Utah, with 2 apiece).
26: 18 of the 27 “4-in-5” sequences on the schedule occur before the NFL season ends (Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016).
25: Under the NBA’s scheduling system, Oklahoma City and Golden State will play only three times in this upcoming regular season, not four.
24: San Antonio and the L.A. Clippers will play only three times this season.
23: The Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat will play only three times this season.
22: The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards will play only three times this season.
20: Four teams had no poorly handled weekend back-to-backs this season: Charlotte, Cleveland, New Orleans (which had none), and San Antonio (only one, on Nov. 1 and 2).
19: 22 of the league’s 30 teams will play at least one 4-in-5 this season.
18: Of those 22 teams mentioned above in fact number 19, a total of seven play that 4-in-5 before Christmas Day: ATL has two 4-in-5s before Christmas. DAL, LAL, OKC, ORL, SAC, and WASH are the other six teams.
Two teams — MIN and PHI — play two 4-in-5s this season, with one of them ending before Christmas and the other one occurring later in the season.
17: Of the 22 teams playing a 4-in-5, a total of eight must play one after the All-Star break: POR plays two after the break; BKN, DEN, LAC, MIN, NOP, PHI, and TOR are the other seven.
Three teams — DEN, MIN, PHI — play two 4-in-5s this season, with one of them occurring after the All-Star break and the other one occurring earlier in the season.
16: Houston and Golden State play each other only three times this season.
15: The L.A. Clippers and Memphis play each other only three times this season.
14: Memphis and Oklahoma City play each other only three times this season.
13: New Orleans plays Golden State and Oklahoma City only three times this season.
12: The Los Angeles Lakers lead the league in poorly handled weekend back-to-backs, with seven, but only one of them appears to be the result of a discretionary move (one not forced upon them by outside constraints).
11: Detroit and Philadelphia lead the Eastern Conference (and are tied for second in the league, behind the Lakers) with five poorly handled weekend back-to-backs. Only one instance appears to be a discretionary move for each organization.
10: There were 13 weekend back-to-backs in the month of April, before the playoffs, when more day games are regularly staged. This makes sense. However, only 7 of those 13 weekend back-to-backs were properly handled.
9: Alongside Oklahoma City’s three instances, Portland leads the NBA with three poorly handled weekend back-to-backs which originate at home AND appear to be the product of discretionary scheduling decisions.
8: Milwaukee, Orlando and Toronto appear to have made discretionary decisions resulting in multiple poorly handled back-to-backs which originate at home.
7: New Orleans and Portland are the only two teams in the league which play a 4-in-5 entirely within the month of April, just before the playoffs begin.
6: Five teams — ATL, DEN, MIN, PHI, POR — play two 4-in-5s this season. Eight teams — CHA, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, MEM, NY, and SAS — play none. A total of 17 teams play one.
5: Five teams — DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, and MIL — play 20 back-to-backs this season, tied for the most in the league. Two teams — MIN and PHX — play 14 back-to-backs, tied for the fewest in the league.
4: Of the five teams with 20 back-to-backs, two — LAC and MIL — play a 4-in-5. The Clippers play their 4-in-5 in late March, Milwaukee in the middle of January.
3: Of the two teams that play only 14 back-to-backs — MIN and PHX — the Timberwolves play two 4-in-5s, one in November and one in March. Phoenix plays only one 4-in-5, near New Year’s Day.
2: The Phoenix Suns lead the NBA in properly handled weekend back-to-backs, with five. The Clippers are second, with four.
1: Five teams — ATL (Thanksgiving), CLE (Christmas), MIA (Christmas), PHX (New Year’s), and WASH (Thanksgiving) — play a 4-in-5 which starts either on or before a major American holiday.