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Analyzing the NBA Schedule for the Fantasy Basketball Playoffs


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Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr

The 2014-15 NBA season is a month and change away and a lot of eyes are focused on Team USA’s quest to bag the gold medal at the ongoing 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. However, like I always say, “It’s never too early to get ready for fantasy basketball!” That said, Baller Mind Frame will be publishing articles over the next several weeks to help you get ready for your fantasy basketball draft, so you can get your own gold!

It’s been a tradition of mine to take a look at the NBA schedule and assess which teams have a favorable number of games during the fantasy playoffs. This analysis really only benefits those of you who play using the Head-to-Head (H2H) format. It is especially useful to those who have weekly roster changes in their league settings. This season, the NBA changed the schedule in such a way that fantasy playoff schedule analysis is not as important. The league decided to turn NBA All-Star Weekend into a week-long affair. That means teams will only play either one or two games in Weeks 16 and 17. The days that were eaten up during the break fill up the other weeks, creating more three and four week games. Nonetheless, there are still teams that have more favorable schedules during the fantasy playoffs relative to others.

Thanks to the help of a friend, who just happens to be a wizard with spreadsheets, I was able to analyze the schedule and take note of which teams had an advantage and teams with not-so-advantageous schedules.

Team with the Worst Pre-Fantasy Playoff Schedule

Boston Celtics
The Celtics are the team with the most weeks that play two games or less. In Weeks 1, 3, 5, 17, and 25, they only have two games scheduled for the week. In Week 16 they only have one game on tap.

Teams that have only ONE game in Week 16 (All other teams have two games): Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors

Teams that have only ONE game in Week 17 (All other teams have two or three games): Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz

Teams that play THREE games in Week 17 (All other teams have one or two games): Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder.

Teams with the Best Schedule During the Fantasy Playoffs

Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets play the most games during that period. They play four games in Weeks 21 to 24, and play two games in Week 25. Players like Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker, and Lance Stephenson now hold a little extra value for fantasy managers who like to plan ahead.

San Antonio Spurs
The defending NBA champions also have a full plate towards the end of the regular season. Similar to the Hornets, they play four games in Weeks 21 to 24. However, only they and the Phoenix Suns have one game scheduled in Week 25, while the rest of the league will be playing two. Take this favorable schedule with a grain of salt when you are considering drafting a Spurs player in fantasy basketball. It’s been a pattern for a few seasons now that coach Gregg Popovich tends to sit his aging stars as the season winds down to keep them fresh for the real-life playoffs. So guys like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and sometimes Tony Parker (due to injuries) are no-shows in more than a few games during our make-believe postseason.

Teams with the Worst Schedule during the Fantasy Playoffs

Cleveland Cavaliers
Well, well. Now that’s ironic. This is a team with two Top-10 caliber players in fantasy basketball (LeBron James and Kevin Love) and another who is in the Top 25 (Kyrie Irving). While these players will definitely help your fantasy team qualify for the Playoffs, they will also play less games during those critical weeks. Cleveland has four games scheduled in Week 21, but plays only three games in Weeks 22 and 24, as well as only two games in Week 23. Not only is the team’s schedule not a very ideal one when it comes to fantasy basketball, those star players are also candidates to be rested by their coach towards the end if ever the Cavs have safely secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago Bulls
Even if Derrick Rose, whom we will discuss in-depth in a future article, can stay healthy enough to reach those latter weeks of the regular season, he will be playing less games (due to schedule) than other point guards you might consider targeting in the second round of standard drafts. The Bulls play three games in Weeks 21 to 24, and while they don’t have a two-game week during the playoffs like the Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, or 76ers, the Bulls are the only team in the league that does not have a four-game week during that stretch.

There you have it, folks, some key observations about the NBA schedule. Whether or not it is a factor that you take into consideration when drafting in fantasy basketball, knowing and understanding the schedule can be a useful tool.

I’d like to throw a shout out to my buddy and former co-blogger (he retired), Patrick Madden, who hooked me up with the an easy-to-view NBA schedule and gave me permission to analyze it and share it with you readers. Click HERE to view the schedule in Daily and Weekly grids. Enjoy!

Got any fantasy basketball related questions? Hit me up on Twitter @FantasyHoopla.

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