The Wizards and Grizzlies have each had six games postponed due to coronavirus already.
The NBA anticipated disruptions this season. The league released only the first segment of the 2020-21 schedule before the season, 37-38 games per team. The rest of the 72-game season will be announced later and incorporate postponements.
But that left Washington and Memphis to play at least 41 games in 67 days during the second segment of the NBA’s schedule.
No team has played so many games in so few days in the last 50 years.
This comes in the load-management era. Teams are more proactive about resting players. The league has reduced back-to-backs and four-in-fives and lengthened the All-Star break. Even as everyone accepted a compressed schedule in order to maximize revenue amid the pandemic, 41 games in 67 days would really be pushing it.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said games could be made up during the All-Star break. But there might be an actual All-Star game, and Bradley Beal could play in it.
So, the NBA is enacting a different solution – rescheduling games within the first segment of the schedule, not leaving all postponed games (22 and counting) to be made up in the second segment.
The National Basketball Association announced today that it will reschedule during the First Half of the season certain games that were previously postponed. In addition, certain games that were otherwise scheduled for the Second Half will now be scheduled into the First Half, with a specific focus on the teams with the most postponed games to date. To create the maximum flexibility, dates of existing games may also be moved in order to schedule additional games into the First Half.
Below are the initial changes to the upcoming schedule:
Portland at Washington – Feb. 2, 8 p.m. ET (previously targeted for Second Half)
Washington at Charlotte – Feb. 7, 1 p.m. ET (rescheduled from Jan. 20)
Portland at Charlotte – Postponed on Feb. 7, moved to Second Half
Naturally, the Wizards had two of their games moved. The Grizzlies are a prime candidate to follow – once their current coronavirus issues subside.
This is a sensible plan. Coronavirus doesn’t operate on a set schedule. Flexibility is incredibly important amid the pandemic.
But these newly scheduled games with less warning will inconvenience some fans, who are used to having a set schedule well before the season. Many fans will adapt with minimal difficulty. Some will have difficulty keeping up, though.
That’s clearly an acceptable tradeoff for the NBA, which has emphasized putting a requisite number of games on television – regardless of quality or, apparently, maximum notice.