Helps when you’re not expected to lose every game by a ton
On Friday, I wrote about the NBA’s release of each team’s first-half schedule. The Suns actually have 37 games on the docket so far, with 13 on a national stage. The NBA will assess COVID’s impact on the season before planning the remainder of the 72-game schedule.
But how does the Suns schedule rank with the rest of the league?
10th in national appearances
After going through a big drought in big games, the Suns have been given the 10th most national games among the league.
Zach Harper made a nice color graphic. He only included the ESPN/TNT games in his list, considering how fewer Americans have access to NBATV than the other two channels. Even so, the Suns are being shown more often than most.
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) December 5, 2020
Back to backs
There will be a lot more back-to-backs than usual due to scheduling crunches. The Suns have 9 in their first 37 games, tied for most in the league.
No team has fewer than five back-to-backs (Miami, Toronto, Houston). On the plus side, maybe the NBA will balance those out in the second half schedule a bit, meaning the Suns could have fewer B2Bs as the playoffs approach when rest is most needed. So I’m good with this right now.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton made a handy-dandy graphic on this Saturday on ESPN+
Home vs. Away
On the other hand, the Suns get to enjoy a bit more home sanitizing in the first half than hotel-oriented sanitizing, with 20 home games vs. 17 roadies. See the schedule here. The Suns are tied with 7 teams for the most home games in the first half.
Obviously with no fans the home court advantage takes a bit of a hit, but it’s still nice being in your own digs than someone else’s. We’ll see how that all shakes out this season.
Strength of Schedule
For the first time in half a decade, the Suns are not projected to have one of the three toughest schedules on the docket!
Why? Because they’re actually favored in many matchups, that’s why! We aren’t used to that, but it’s true. At this point, the Suns are favored more often than not which ranks them 13th overall in a preseason calculation of schedule strength.
Want to look at the schedule again? Here.