In recent years, the LA Clippers have usually been given a fairly harsh regular season schedule. These tough schedules would consist of several back-to-back games, five games in seven days, and afternoon home games. Due to these extremities, head coach Tyronn Lue receives little to no time at all to plan and make adjustments to his rotations.
Furthermore, key rotational players also receive little to no rest at all. In consequence, the LA Clippers may have lost several games that could’ve resulted in wins if there was more rest involved and more time to prepare. This could lead to the Clippers obtaining a lower seed, giving Lue hardships come playoff time.
These difficult schedules have been a recurring theme for quite some time. Even in the playoffs, it seems as if the LA Clippers cannot catch a break. In the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs, the LA Clippers had a stretch where they played 15 games in 30 days. This can lead to injuries as well as mental health instability.
Although the LA Clippers have previously had bad luck, their 2022-23 regular-season schedule may have just broken the curse. As their schedule was recently released, key players such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will have several opportunities to rest in time for the NBA Playoffs.
The LA Clippers could be the number one seed in the Western Conference
With a slightly easier schedule, the LA Clippers should be the favorites in the 2023 NBA Finals. One significant component of next season’s schedule is how many games are played within seven days. For the first time in franchise history, the LA Clippers will have zero stretches where they play five games in seven days.
With Leonard missing all of last season due to an ACL injury, it is inevitable that he will not play in back-to-back games. Next season, the LA Clippers will play 15 back-to-backs, which is one more than last season. Within these stretches, players such as Paul George and John Wall may also miss several back-to-backs due to a history of injuries.
Additionally, the LA Clippers will play 13 afternoon home games this season. This may be one of the few areas in which the Clippers are receiving the short end of the stick. Playing in the afternoon gives the coaching staff a minimal time frame to prepare and make changes based on the game plan.
Next season, the LA Clippers will play 32 games on national television (NBATV, TNT, ESPN). This ranks fifth in the NBA, only behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Phoenix Suns. This is five more nationally televised games than what the LA Clippers played last season.
As the lights will shine bright on the LA Clippers next season, they are in one of the best positions to win it all. With a healthy roster, one of the best coaches in the NBA, and a reasonable schedule, the LA Clippers may just finish at the top of the Western Conference.