As the NBA prepares to release its schedule for the second half of the 2020-21 season, teams are reportedly prepared for a backloaded slate of games.
"They are bracing themselves for the worst schedule they've ever seen. All kinds of five games in seven nights, all kinds of strange road trips, where you're playing East and West in the same road trip...when that schedule comes out, wait until you hear the griping," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast.
Windhorst went on to say we're likely to see teams rest players at several points in the second half simply because of the close proximity of games.
The NBA will attempt to get 72 games in for each team this season and has dealt with more than 30 postponements over the first half because of COVID-19 and the winter storm in Texas.
Teams have already regularly been sitting players throughout the 2020-21 season, with several stars sitting out half of back-to-backs to preserve their bodies across an already tight schedule. The league is attempting to normalize its calendar after the 2020-21 season after last season stretched into October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This season began with a swath of COVID cases across the league, leading to near-nightly postponements over the first month and teams playing with a skeleton crew of players on other nights. The league has gotten a better handling of the virus as the season progressed, with only eight games being postponed because of COVID-19 in February, versus 21 in January.
The San Antonio Spurs' recent outbreak is responsible for half of the postponements this month.
It's unclear how the NBA will handle postponements in the second half of the season. It seems likely there will be outright cancellations if the league hopes to stick to its current timeline for the season. However, it's possible that the NBA will push back the playoffs in hopes of getting each team to the 72-game mark.