2011-12 NBA Schedule Analysis
The NBA released the full (revised) 2011-12 schedule on Tuesday, so as is standard around these parts we ran the schedule through some analysis. If you recall we did the same thing in August for the full season schedule, but obviously things have changed.
We reviewed all 30 team schedules and broke out the games in the following categories:
- Longest home stands, noting 4-game, 5-game, and 6-or-more-game home stands.
- Longest road trips, noting 4-game, 5-game, and 6-or-more-game road trips.
- The number of back-to-back games and back-to-back-to-back (thanks to the lockout) games.
- National TV games (ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBATV).
- Finally, the number of games for each team per month.
Here are the results, in a nice little graphic:
What jumps out at you?
Let’s start with the obvious. Five teams were unlucky enough to be hit with TWO back-to-back-to-back sets: Detroit, New Jersey, Phoenix, Portland and San Antonio. Of that group Detroit has the most back-to-backs with 18. On the positive side for them, that takes care of 42 games out of the 66-game schedule.
Charlotte will play the most back-to-back sets over all with 21. On average teams were given 17.8 of these. Believe it or not, that’s DOWN from the original schedule, which had 19.2 (but also included none of the back-to-back-to-backs and more off days).
San Antonio and Chicago each were hit with nine-game road trips. Boston earned an eight-game road trip and four other teams – Cleveland, Denver, Minnesota and Portland – each have seven-game road trips. Portland also has a six-game road trip; the L.A. Clippers have two six-game trips.
Cleveland, Denver and Sacramento each have nine-game home stands on their schedule. Philadelphia, San Antonio and Toronto each have seven-game home stands.
Speaking of home stands, four teams – Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando and Portland – all were not given a home stand of more than three games. However, they don’t win the choppiest schedule award because that goes to Indiana, who has just one four-game home stand and just one four-game road trip.
There are 418 games on the national TV (NBATV, TNT, ESPN and ABC) docket for the revised schedule, an average of 13.9 per team. Boston leads the way with 31 national appearances, followed by the L.A. Lakers at 29 and Miami and New York at 27 each. On the flip side the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers each play just once for a national audience on NBATV. For those of you hoping to see 2011 number one overall pick point guard Kyrie Irving, you have to buy NBA League Pass. Detroit hits national T.V. just twice and Charlotte, Indiana and New Jersey four times each.
With the NBA schedule kicking off on Christmas Day teams will have just seven days of the month to play, but the Lakers and Oklahoma City each get five games. In fact, the Lakers play their back-to-back-to-back in that stretch.
In January four teams will play 19 games: Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto. Golden State, the Clippers, Oklahoma City and Utah each play just 15.
February is an interesting month. It’s shorter than the others, but it’s a leap year so it’s 29 days. However, no games will be played from the 24th through the 27th due to the All-Star Game in Orlando, so really teams have just 25 days. Nine teams will still play 15 games in the span, while at the other end Charlotte will play only 11 – by far the lowest amount of games for any team in any month not named December during the season.
In March the Clippers get the most brutal offering of all: 20 games. That’s the only 20-game month for any team. Detroit, Memphis and San Antonio will play just 15.
April is different this season. Normally the schedule wraps up around the 15th, but to squeeze in more games it wraps up this year on the 25th. Six teams will end their season with 16 games in April while Atlanta and New Jersey will play just 12.
Overall, the most balanced schedule seems to be Oklahoma City’s. They have two five-game road trips and two five-game home stands, plus in the full months of January-April they player 15, 15, 16, and 15 games.
It’s tough to say teams have a worse schedule than Portland or San Antonio with their combinations of long road trips and multiple back-to-back-to-backs.
The 2011-12 NBA season is finally here. Isn’t it nice to be able to talk about things like this rather than negotiating points of a collective bargaining agreement?