NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Skyhook Sunday: The Sacramento Kings have a brutal schedule early on

In order to make things easier on the players, the NBA regular season will begin a couple of weeks earlier than usual, tipping off on Tuesday, October 17. The league is doing this to reduce the amount of back-to-backs and give teams less of an excuse to rest their star players. Personally, I think this is a great move by the league. The rigors of the NBA schedule are very real. Starting the regular season a couple of weeks earlier is a simple and effective solution to improving the quality of basketball across the league.

While the decrease in back-to-backs and increased time for rest is a benefit to all 30 teams, that doesn't mean that all schedules are created equal. The Sacramento Kings for example will play 20 of their first 33 games away from the Golden 1 Center, making it about as brutal of a schedule as you could realistically have to begin an NBA season.

Of course, the benefit of this is that by getting 20 road games out of the way so early, the Kings will play 28 of their remaining 49 games at home, which is pretty nice. However, it will be tough for this young Kings team to weather the storm early on. Given the nature of this schedule, they could find themselves in a very deep hole by the end of December.

To help things out a little bit, the Kings tip off the season at home against the Houston Rockets on October 18 before going on a three-game road trip to Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix (October 20-23). What really stands out about the Kings' schedule isn't just the amount of road games but where those road games are being played. The Kings have four Eastern Conference road trips between October 31 and December 20:

The first road trip is to Indiana, Boston, and Detroit (October 31-November 4); the second is to New York, Washington, and Atlanta (November 11-November 15); the third is to Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and New Orleans (December 1-December 8); and the fourth is to Minnesota, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn (December 14-December 20).

After all that, the Kings will take on San Antonio at home on the 23rd before traveling to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on the 26th. Starting December 27th, the Kings will finally get their first real home stand of the season, which will keep them in Sacramento through January 8 for six consecutive games.

There's no other word to describe this early schedule but "brutal."  I know that it all evens itself out over the course of 82 games, but having four road trips to the Eastern Conference region to start the season feels almost unfair. Had even just one of those road trips been converted to a home stand, I would feel different. But as it is presently constructed, it really does appear as though the Kings got a raw deal from the league.

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