The 2023-2024 NBA season is set to tip off in a little over 2 months time. This is the time of year where there’s mostly dead air, except for one random mid-august Thursday where the NBA has just released this season’s schedule.
On Tuesday the NBA had released the mid-season tournament schedule, but today the entire regular season schedule has just been released. For the most part this news doesn’t really matter because the Christmas Day games, as well as the mid-season tournament, are the most important aspects of the regular season schedule.
However even with that said, there are four parties involved that this news does affect greatly, so I want to get into those.
Winners: Die hard fans & the NBA itself
It’s no secret that this season’s structure is unique compared to that of the past, from the addition of the play-in tournament in 2021 to now the mid-season tournament being added. Basketball in November and April now has more meaning for fans of teams that are middle of the road at best.
Meaning if you are let’s say a Chicago Bulls fan and in November you’re set to at most be anticipating 42 wins, beating a team like the Milwaukee Bucks in the mid-season tournament can be a confidence boost for you.
However, it is extremely obvious who the biggest winners of this new scheduling are, which would of course be the NBA themselves. More interest for more fan bases equals more money, it’s not exactly rocket science more so common sense.
Losers: Casual fans & Load Managers
For the losers category I want to focus on mainly the Clippers as a good example of load management gone awry, so I will quickly get the casual fan explanation out the way. Casual fans don’t want to watch an 82 game season, that’s why they mostly tune in for the playoffs exclusively.
Your average person doesn’t have time at 8:00 p.m. on a mid-october Friday to watch a relatively meaningless game between the Pistons and the Magic. Some will argue that in increasing the importance of these games, casual fan turnout will increase.
This is where we disagree, casual fans don’t just simply decide against watching those games because they lack importance, but rather because they’re too distant away from any serious consequence.
Especially in the modern day of social media, there’s too many convenient ways to be spoon-fed things, like box scores and highlights to justify wasting 3 hours of your night watching a game, 6 months away from the actual playoffs.
The only way to revigorate the attention of the average person, is to shorten the 82 game season but that will never happen due to obvious bleeding that would cause to the bottom line. It actually makes more business sense to just ignore the casual view entirely, at least until April rolls around.
Load management might be impossible:
This is where we segue into the Los Angeles Clippers, and load management conversation as a whole. Shortening the season might be the only way teams with stars like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, would ever be able to see success beyond maybe a couple playoff wins.
You might be asking right now, what does any of this have to do with today’s scheduling news? Well in announcing today’s schedule, it has been reported that the Los Angeles Clippers will have 15 back-to-backs. This is the same amount of back to back game nights they had last season, which tallied up as the second most in the NBA.
This fact will obviously lead to questions as it pertains to guys like Kawhi Leonard, however this is a little more than just a story to raise concern for the Lakers little brother in Los Angeles.
We here in Bucks Nation have also had injury issues, most notably to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton in these past two playoffs. This news could spell major trouble for even our team, as this will probably be the most hectic regular season of all time.
I guess my point is to wrap up this article, don’t be surprised if the 2024 NBA playoffs are more riddled with injury than any other before it.
Injuries have always been a part of the game sure, but if managed incorrectly, this large regular season schedule load could actually create an environment where injuries more or less DECIDE the game going forward.
Although I hope that I am just being overly cynical, and that we can have a healthy competitive NBA season!