The schedule release is typically dumb as shit. But considering it’s the dead month of the NBA calendar (the only one!), looking at the Bulls 2019 schedule may be pointless but still entertaining.
For one thing you can analyze the rest patterns, as analyst Ed Kupfer did. He found the Bulls to have some advantages:
Bulls will have the fewest number of games in which their opponent has had more days of rest than them. In the new era of Load Management, that’s significant.
It’s not a surprise, then, that the Bulls have 11 back-to-back sets this season, tied for the fewest of any team in the league. To put that in context, the NBA just hit an all-time low with teams averaging just 12.4 back-to-back sets this season.
They also have a very light travel schedule relative to the rest of the league.
It will be one of the more interesting variables of this team: how healthy will they be, and how will their coach’s attitude influence that health? Given Jim Boylen’s fondness for ‘tough’ practice and playing through injury, for all we know the extra rest in the season will just mean more non-game effort expended under Boylen. I am already having fever dreams in anticipation of a training camp proclamation of “we may not be the best, but we will be the best-conditioned team, I guarantee we won’t be out-worked” or some similar nonsense Boylenism.
Back to the schedule itself, it’s also of interest in looking at the ‘strength’ that the Bulls project to an easy, though road-heavy, stretch out of the gate:
the easiest stretch of the season will be the start of it. The Bulls open with road games against Charlotte and Memphis, host the defending champions in their home opener, and then play the Knicks and Cavaliers. That’s four of five games against some of the worst projected teams in the league to begin the season.
Then November gets a lot tougher. So we may know very early that this year ain’t it if it starts poorly, though of course technicalities like “wins and losses” don’t appear to be a metric to which the team looks to make changes from.
The schedule also looks rough at the end of the season, and we’ll have to wait and see if that hurts the Bulls push for the playoffs, or they’ll be D.O.A. by then and teams will take them lightly generating some enthusiasm for the next round of season ticket purchases.