With only 22 of 30 teams returning to action this summer and playing just eight games apiece, the NBA will have to revamp the remainder of its regular season schedule. According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the league’s plan is for teams to continue their previous schedule when play resumes, skipping over bottom-eight clubs when they come up on the schedule.
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For instance, when the season was suspended, the Lakers‘ next seven games were scheduled to be against Houston, Denver, Utah (twice), Charlotte, Detroit, and Toronto. Based on Goodwill’s report, the Lakers’ first five games when play resumes could be against the Rockets, Nuggets, Jazz (twice), and Raptors.
While that plan will work for some clubs, it will require tweaking in other cases — for example, the Magic‘s upcoming schedule would call for them to play Boston in their sixth and eighth games, but the Celtics have eight games against top-22 teams on their schedule before that first matchup with Orlando.
As Goodwill acknowledges (via Twitter), playing out the previously-scheduled games won’t work for every team, so the NBA is expected to use the original schedule as a guide, using an algorithm to fill in gaps or imbalances.
The approach makes sense, since it should help the league avoid a scenario in which teams that had already completed their regular-season matchups against one another square off again. It should also result in some important games among teams fighting for the playoffs. For example, the Nets and Magic could end up playing each other twice, while the Grizzlies may face the Pelicans twice.