Awaiting the Schedule

As promised at the Center Court Blog the 2008-09 NBA Schedule should be released sometime Wednesday morning.  We'll save some space and effort for analysis when it comes out.  I'll try to be on top of things and post it as it's released but even if I don't I'm sure somebody will have it up in about a millisecond.

When the schedule does come out please post the link in the comments of this thread and not in the fanposts.  Clear enough?  That way discussion will be localized and not spread all over three or four posts.  I will copy the link into this very space for all to see as soon as I see it.

While we're waiting, a few thoughts on scheduling in general:

--As near as I'm able to ascertain the NBA makes sure its marquee (usually meaning "elite", can also mean "popular") teams get normally-paced schedules with plenty of TV opportunities, of course.  After that the lesser-known or lesser-performing teams get squeezed in where they fit.  With 30 teams and 82 games each I guess they have to prioritize somehow.  Keep in mind that the Blazers, however promising, are still likely to be in the "squeezed in" category.  Don't be surprised if the rumored mess of road games to start the season, weird flurries of games followed by weird layoffs, and other anomalies persist in this year's schedule.

--That said, don't be surprised if the Blazers get featured holiday games again.  There's nobody in this year's rookie class as exciting as Greg Oden and that, coupled with Fernandez and a host of attractive youngsters, gives us the ingenue vibe.

--People generally make too much of the ebbs and flows of the schedule during the off-season.  The quality of the two teams involved usually matters more than the order in which they play each other.

--It's somewhat silly to go through the schedule now penciling in wins and losses.  We don't even know our own rotation yet, let alone the strength of the opponent, injuries, and the like.  Nevertheless people are going to do that.  As you do, providing you want to be serious about it (which is not a requirement) remember the following:

  • You won't beat most inferior teams every time.  Account for at least one loss to all but the worst teams.
  • This is doubly true if you figure we're going to beat teams better than we at least once.
  • Back-to-backs do kind of matter, and four-games-in-five-nights are brutal.   Plan accordingly.
  • Everybody starts with 41-41 as our baseline but remember we're unlikely to go on a quarter-season winning streak again.  If your total ends up only in the mid-40's let it stand.  I'm not saying that's correct, but honestly it's better than going back and changing.  If you already know we're going to win 50 then don't bother going through the schedule.

In short, this may be the single most overrated announcement (and therefore discussion day) of the entire off-season.  But hey, it IS the off-season so this topic is as good as any.  Have fun waiting and speculating!

Schedule Link Here: http://www.nba.com/blazers/schedule/

Initial Analysis:  October and early November are rough.  11 of our first 18 games are against last year's playoff teams.  Most are on the road and most of those playoff teams are of the legit, good variety, not the squeakers.  HOWEVER this is not necessarily a horrible deal.  Chances are we'll be making some adjustments and finding our way early anyway.  Also, as you know, even legit contenders sometimes biff it coming out of the gate.  It's usually worse playing a playoff giant in March or April than November.  And if you start looking at January, February, and March things get a lot rosier.  Basically if we can hold on early and not get totally obliterated there's a legitimate chance we could start clicking in those middle months and let the momentum carry us right through April and into the playoffs.  You can't start 0-18 of course, but 8-10 would be no big deal and even 6-12 would be enough to keep hope alive.  Just don't judge the season completely by its first months. 

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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