With the announcement of the official calendar for the 2019-2020 season, we analyze which is the most favored team with the start of the road to the promised land: the Playoffs.
With the announcement of the official NBA calendar for the 2019-2020 regular season, the teams had the opportunity to start shredding the fixture they have ahead for the 82 games of the championship.
Although the NBA continues to decrease the number of games on consecutive days for each team (back-to-backs) and also announced, for the third consecutive season, that no team will play four games in five days, the schedule is has its good parts and parts Bad for each of the franchises.
Therefore, it is time to analyze who has the best and who has the worst fixture, based on the first 20 games of each team. Why 20? Because although there are 1,230 matches in a regular season, there is a great relationship between the first 20 games of a team and their record at the end of the season. In this segment, almost a quarter of the season, victories are a great parameter to determine if a franchise will reach the Playoffs or not. For example, of the last 20 seasons, 92% of the 215 teams that won at least 12 of their first 20 games managed to reach the postseason. Last season, the exception was with the Memphis Grizzlies, who started 12-8 and then fell crashingly.
The calendar eventually balances only with the passing of the matches. But all teams want to start on the right foot, and some have it easier than others. Therefore, who has the best start in the papers?
Denver Nuggets are the leaders in the continuity of the NBA. More than 92% of the minutes played last season were by players who are still on the team. And in a league as nomadic and dizzying as it is now, it should not be taken for granted. Also, taking into account the victory percentages of the 2018-2019 season of their rivals, the Nuggets have the first 20 "easiest" matches of the NBA. They will play 13 of those 20 against teams with a negative record last season. One of the other seven will be nothing more and nothing less than against the Lakers, which with Anthony Davis will probably have a positive record. But the game will be in Denver (like 11 of those in this segment), where the locals had a difference of 13.1 points per 100 possessions, the biggest difference in the entire NBA.
Generally, and with the exception of six teams, the NBA tries to balance between home and away matches between the first 20. But there are two teams that beyond the home and away matches will also suffer the initial fixture.
New Orleans Pelicans
The renewed Pelicans with the first pick of the Draft, Zion Williamson, will play 15 of their first 20 games against teams with a winning record last season. One of the other five games will be against the James and Davis Lakers. And there is a fact that makes this start even darker for those led by Alvin Gentry: he will have four back-to-back games in these first 20.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder will play 14 of their first 20 against Playoff teams last season. Two of the other six will be against the Lakers. Within this streak, they will have three games with a rest disadvantage. OKC, which lost its two top stars, seems to miss the next season's Playoffs.