On Friday afternoon, the NBA released their entire schedule for the 2021-22 season. By extension, the Denver Nuggets released their individual 82-game schedule, and there were certainly some surprises.
The 2021-22 Denver Nuggets regular season schedule: pic.twitter.com/gkPE7oGuxf— Ryan Blackburn (@NBABlackburn) August 20, 2021
(By clicking on the above tweet, you can read through a tweet thread I put together with various tidbits of information and analysis on Denver’s schedule specifically that may or may not show up in this article.)
The Nuggets will play 14 games on national television, including eight on ESPN, five on TNT, and one game on ABC. This will be the first time in a long time the Nuggets have appeared on ABC, and it’s a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Los Angeles Lakers in their fourth-to-last game of the season.
Here’s a brief breakdown of Denver’s schedule:
- 17 home games in the first half, 24 home games in the second half
- 12 back-to-backs, including two that involve no travel
- 11 of 15 games in December will be on the road
- Just one back-to-back in the final 20 games of the season (at Sacramento on March 9th, vs Golden State on March 10th)
- 59 games before the All-Star Break from February 17th to 23rd; 23 games post All-Star Break beginning February 24th
While the schedule release may be a bit confusing to many, there’s always data to help quantify it. Positive Residual on Twitter put together an app that measured the schedule advantages and disadvantages for every team, and it appears that, based on miles traveled and number of rest days, the Nuggets have the second easiest schedule. This is aided by Denver’s positioning in the middle of the United States, but it’s also legitimate data that factors in the number of back-to-backs while comparing to that of other teams.
It’s very possible that the Nuggets, along with the Utah Jazz in a similar rest advantage situation, are in good position to succeed this season. Though Denver has to manage their roster through the extended absence of Jamal Murray, the Nuggets should be in decent position once Murray returns to go on a winning streak of sorts. That will help Denver catch up, if only a bit, as teams around them play difficult schedules that are either road laden or compressed due to extra games. The Nuggets don’t face the same challenges, as long as they get through a difficult first half of the season unscathed.
Denver Stiffs will provide more schedule analysis throughout the weekend, including the most important games of the season.