Sometimes I wonder if the NBA schedule makers ever look up from their spreadsheets and complex algorithms and laugh at what they have just done to the Denver Nuggets.

On occasion the NBA just sticks it to the Nuggets in a way that feels personal. Undoubtedly it is not. Just disconnected, cold and unfamiliar with humanity — but not personal. There are many factors that go into schedules that I cannot even fathom. Arena availability and having to play a predetermined amount of games with individual teams who also need to be scheduled out. Plus this season there was the debut of the In Season Tournament. There are a ton of factors that complicate matters.

Additionally about 10 years ago the NBA made the determination that the Nuggets home court advantage that came from teams ending road trips in Denver or on a second night of a back to back coming from the west coast was ‘unfair’. (In reality a handful of executives and coaches whined about it enough to force a change, that is the gods honest truth). So the Nuggets have an additional factor other teams don’t have when considering how to order their schedule. It’s been 10 years so this stuff is baked in now.

All that being said, whoever at the NBA league office determined that the Nuggets should play more games than any NBA team — a full 4 games more than the Oklahoma City Thunder — needs to have their head examined or at the very least denied access to their computer. By January 7th of 2024 the Nuggets will have played nearly half of their schedule. 38 games. While the team played game 38 on January 5th of last season, they began their season a full five days earlier than this year. Last season the Nuggets played 2 back to backs in their first 32 games. By comparison this season the Nuggets played 6 sets of back to back by game 32. By the time they get to game 38 it will be 8 sets of back to backs. Two sets of 7 games in 11 nights.

What I’m telling you is the NBA basically said “You won the title eh? Good for you, here are a bunch of games in a very short time span after a long playoff run… good luck. Oh and please try really hard for the In Season Tournament.”

Thanks for nothing, league.

Considering Jamal Murray missing 10 games with a hamstring injury and ankle problems, the Nuggets playing a several really young players and schedule compression/ridiculousness the team is fortunate to be at a 23-11 record as of this writing. A tribute to their obvious talent and mental resolve.

It’s very clear the schedule asininity is directly correlated to the NBA’s In Season Tournament and only a handful of teams felt the brunt of the poorly conceived schedule compression. The New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers have also been subject to scheduling nightmares (not as severe as the Nuggets but right up there). The NBA is all in on this so we might as well accept that this sort of thing is going to happen again and again, and often to the Nuggets. Geography is not their friend.

You might be wondering what the upshot of this ridiculousness is?

After January 5th the Nuggets don’t have another back to back until February 22nd and 23rd. Games 56 and 57. If you take a look at a calendar it is definitely pleasing to see those darkened squares to nicely spaced out. The schedule returns to something approximating normal which teams like the OKC Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and others will have more back to backs and more compressed schedules because they played less games up until January. Advantage to the defending champions.

Nine times out of ten I will take something akin to what the Nuggets have done this year over a compressed second half. Having more rest for a contending team heading into the playoffs is basically the best scenario. After the Nuggets play their next back to back next week they will have only 3 sets in the remaining 44 games. I’ll take that six ways from Sunday. Yes … mid January to late February will have a large percentage of road games but … no back to backs. I’ll still take it.

Despite the NBA’s scheduling madness the Nuggets are set up really nicely with more rest than most teams heading into this year’s playoffs. We probably need to look at this and thing the Nuggets are doing well to be 23-11 and are set up to ‘get right’ as the playoffs begin. Despite the NBA’s best efforts the Nuggets are persevering and that’s pretty awesome.