Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

NBA redesigning schedule to prevent teams from resting stars

Ty Anderson
August 09, 2017 - 11:35 am

The NBA doesn’t want to see coaches resting their star players next season, and are designing their 2017-18 schedule, which comes out later this month, to focus on that.

In a memo sent out to all teams (and obtained by ESPN), the league has outlined a more player-friendly schedule designed to eliminate stars such as Stephen Curry and LeBron James sitting out with ‘rest’ ailments during their once a year visits to City-X.

The big thing: eliminating stretches of four games in five days and 18 games in 30 days.

There’s a 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), along with a reduction in the 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. This is good news for the C’s, who were 9-7 in traveling back-to-backs a season ago, suffering over 24 percent of their total losses last season when tasked with playing in these scenarios.

There’s also a reduction of single-game road trips by 17 percent, and a reduction in single-game road trips over 2,000 miles by 67 percent; there are only 11 of them on schedule. The Celtics had 10 single-game road trips a season ago, going 5-5.

There will, however, be an 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. And that seems like a concentrated effort to get many marquee matchups on ABC worth it for fans. And you can expect the Celtics, who added Gordon Hayward to their mix this offseason to form a new Big Three with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, to be involved in plenty of those.

Resting players for simply resting them became common by the end of the regular season (and even before that) last season, especially for teams with superstars and/or aging veterans (the Cavaliers, Spurs, and Warriors regularly did it).

It could have been practiced by the head coach of the East-favorite Celtics Brad Stevens this next season, too, with Horford at 31 years old, Thomas coming off a major hip injury, and with more than enough talent to be expected to cruise to the East’s top seed for the second year in a row.

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