Since Adam Silver has taken over as commissioner of the NBA, we have seen him actively pursue ways to improve the product the league is putting forward. He hasn’t shied away from issues and has shown an ability to understand what the fans want to see from the league.
On of the biggest issues and talking points from last season was star players resting. Especially if those rest nights came during a nationally televised game.
In a report for ESPN, Brian Windhorst mentioned that the league has worked to protect those nationally televised games and reduce the incentive for players to rest. It was already known that the season would start earlier this year to help enable some of these changes, but now we know what the improvements will be. From his report:
Some of the new improvements include:
• Eliminating stretches of four games in five days and 18 games in 30 days.
• Reduction of five games in seven nights to just 40 instances across (1.3 per team), down from last year when it was on the schedule 90 times (three per team).
• Reduction in number of back-to-backs to 14.9 per team, down from 16.3 per team. In all, 40 back-to-backs have been eliminated from last season.
• Reduction of single-game road trips by 17 percent.
• Reduction in single-game road trips over 2,000 miles by 67 percent; there are only 11 of them on schedule.
• Increase in weekend games from 549 to 568, much of the boost coming on Saturdays. Previously the NBA avoided Saturdays and Sunday afternoons during football season to dodge conflicts.
This is obviously big news for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as LeBron James is somewhat notorious for sitting games out. He’s one of the league’s biggest stars and has put an absolutely absurd amount of mileage on his body over his career. When he has sat out games, it has sparked conversation.
So with the league aiming to put less strain on his body through scheduling, he should be able to play more games without jeopardizing his goal of peaking physically when the games matter most. In this scenario the league is laying out, both sides get what they want. The NBA has its stars play more and team’s do not have to be as concerned with fatigue.
Beyond James the Cavs still are a very top-heavy team with a lot of veterans. This could help allow the team to perform at a higher level throughout the regular season and fewer nights that are thrown away in the name of saving their effort for playoffs.