The NBA has adjusted its schedule for the 2017-18 season in an effort to prevent key players from resting during regular season games, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The schedule changes should also help players maintain their health.
This was a big area of concern in the league last season, especially after the Warriors rested Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala against the Spurs in a nationally televised game in March. The Cavaliers did the same thing the very next week with Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love against the Clippers.
The schedule is set to expand by one week, pushing the start date earlier into October to allow more time off between games, according to Windhorst. That gives the league more room to space games out.
The improvements in this year’s schedule are much more favorable to players. The NBA has completely eliminated four games in five night stretches and any instance of 18 games in 30 days. Teams will also play five games in seven nights less than half as frequently as last year (90 such instances have been cut to 40).
In shorter spans the schedule has improved as well. Forty back-to-back games have been cut, and teams will each play a game or two fewer of them (16.3 cases have been reduced to 14.3). The league also reduced single-game road trips by 17 percent, meaning those will only occur 11 times all season.
The NBA is also ramping up on weekend games, something it tempted to avoid during football season. Nineteen more games will be played on weekends in 2017-18, most of which will fall on Saturdays, according to ESPN.
The schedules are set to finalize this week, and will be announced soon.