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A Closer Look at the 2011-12 NBA Schedule

It’s an early Christmas present – the revised 66-game NBA schedule was released by the league on Tuesday. If you are looking for the entire schedule in a downloadable format, you can find it here. And if you want a fantasy basketball weekly schedule grid, we have that too.

The schedule, as noted around the internet, is particularly brutal and includes a total of 42 back-to-back-to-back games. Every team has at least one of these B2B2B stretches and a total of 12 have two. It also includes some insane road trips. The Bobcats, Lakers and Spurs only play 4 home games in the month of February (the Spurs have a stretch of 9 straight road games – but it’s split up by the all-star break, so it’s ok I guess), while the Sixers only play 4 home games in April.

In terms of the fantasy implications of this schedule, packing 66 games into 124 days means that we are going to see a lot more 5-game weeks than in a typically year. All but three teams have at least one 5-game week and the Grizzlies have a whopping three 5-game weeks (making them a great plug and play option during those weeks). For comparison, the typically fantasy season has one to three 5-game weeks spread across the entire league for the entire year.

The dreaded 2-game week is also out of fashion this season. Only four teams have a non all-star/end of season related 2-game week (the Pacers, Clippers, Knicks, Spurs and Magic). But you are definitely going to want to sit all but the very best players during those weeks, especially if you’re going against opponents loaded with 5-game/week players.

This schedule is going to be tough on players – so you are definitely going to want to stock up on the league’s ironmen who have demonstrated an ability to stay healthy. You don’t want your first round draft pick to miss anytime in a normal year, but an extended 15+ game absence this season will be a disaster for fantasy teams. Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, Brook Lopez and Jason Kidd (of all people) are all guys who have played in at least 78 games each of the past two seasons. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may want to stay away from guys like Danny Granger and Tim Duncan.

If you are in a daily changes league, note that Thursdays are not going to be quite the barren wasteland that they typically are in normal seasons. They still are the least busy day of the week with only 170 games, or 9% of the total number of games, being played on Thursday. However, compare this to the originally 82-game schedule released by the NBA where less than 5% of games were being played on Thursdays.

Day of the Week     Games     % of Total

Sunday                      238             12

Monday                      298             15

Tuesday                     244             12

Wednesday                412             21

Thursday                    170             9

Friday                         350            18

Saturday                     268            14

This will allow you to stock up on players from teams who play a lot on Thursdays to max out those games played in daily leagues. The Bulls, Mavericks, Heat, Magic, Trail Blazers, Kings and Clippers all have at least 8 Thursday games. Think “teams that America wants to watch” plus the Kings when you head into drafts to keep this strategy in mind.

Each team’s fantasy “playoff” schedule can be seen in the schedule grid. Over the last three weeks of the season, the # of games ranges from 8 (the Nets) to 12 (the Bobcats, Cavs and Spurs). It goes without saying that the Nets hare a particularly ugly finish and you may want to either steer clear of Nets or trade them mid-way through the season if you are in a fantasy league with playoffs.

2011-12 NBA Schedule
2011-12 NBA Weekly Schedule Grid

In the Bonus: CBS looks at the strength of each team’s schedule and determines the winners and losers in terms of expected ease of schedule.


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