The schedule now features several historic adjustments, all intended to reduce the stress on players in an effort to mitigate the number and severity of injuries.
As Sekou Smith notes, the season will be extended by a week, stretches where teams play four games in five nights will be abolished, and back-to-back games will be reduced to roughly 14.4 per season, a new low for the league.
The changes could also likely minimize the frequency in which teams rest their players, meaning that the NBA as a whole looks set to enjoy a comparatively undemanding schedule.
The Boston Celtics in particular, who happen to be playing on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers and on Christmas against the Washington Wizards, should be eager upon looking at their upcoming schedule.
As it turns out, the Celtics actually have the second easiest schedule in the league according to the below chart, which calculates the strength of a team’s schedule based on their previous season’s win-loss record.
Take this with a grain of salt.
Schedule strength calculated as such only really points to the obvious. Because the Celtics were on top of the eastern conference last season, they won’t have to play difficult western conference teams on a regular basis. Instead they should be poised to prey on weaker eastern conference teams.
Obviously only having to play the Golden State Warriors two times while being able to feast on the Brooklyn Nets four times is advantageous.
In addition to the Celtics being in an ideal position atop the eastern conference, they also benefit by only having to play 12 back-to-back games, which is well below the league average.
For the Celtics, this offseason has been a perfect storm.
They’ve improved significantly with recent player acquisitions, while teams in their respective conference have mostly gotten weaker. Jimmy Butler and Paul George both went west, further thinning out the talent pool in the east. Now, with their 2017-2018 schedule having been released and a tangible path to the playoffs having been illuminated, the Celtics are in an opportune position to steamroll their way through the season.
The scheduling benefits that the Celtics reap may only be marginal, but any advantage, irrespective of size, should help the Celtics to a dominant season.