Unpacking the 2016-17 Wizards Schedule — Hitting the Road and Staying Fresh | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Unpacking the 2016-17 Wizards Schedule — Hitting the Road and Staying Fresh

Updated: August 17, 2016


The NBA schedule was released last Thursday and once again this season the Washington Wizards were allowed to participate.

TAI’s Adam Rubin provided his second annual Wizards ‘games to watch’ column (1), which reminds me that I need to buy him a calendar to actually circle. I’m also here to try to get back into the habit of writing (2).

A team press release was issued, touting home cooking, weekends, national television exposure, and back-to-backs. In the sixth sentence, as if giving a subtle nod to the days of Susan O’Malley, fans of frontrunners and popular large-market teams were given a cheat sheet on how to plan their fall/winter/spring:

The schedule also features two visits from the Cavaliers (Nov. 11 and Feb. 6), two home matchups with the Knicks (Nov. 17 and Jan. 31) and Chicago Bulls (Jan. 10 and Mar. 17) and visits from the Golden State Warriors (Feb. 28), Los Angeles Clippers (Dec. 18) and the Los Angeles Lakers (Feb. 2).

An amendment to the team release, in this the age of big data, was a statistical breakdown on the slate of 82 (PDF via the Wizards here). It was quite fascinating. Then again, what do we do with all these numbers?

In case it matters, three things:

#1) The Wizards are plus-2 in the “Games Fresh” column: games (13 total) when they didn’t play the night before but the opponent did, versus the opposite, i.e., “Games Tired” (11 total).

And any little thing helps: Washington, in 2015-16, shot 1.1 percent better on one day rest over no days, and 1.8 percent better on two days rest over one day. Records: 7-13 on 0 days rest; 22-22 on 1 day rest; 7-5 on 2 days rest.

#2) Other schedule analytics noted in the team email help limit excuse-making, or just simply convey that everyone’s pretty much in the same boat. Washington has 16 back-to-back sets this season (below the league average of 16.3), and that’s down from last season’s 19 back-to-backs (when the league average was 17.8).

The Wizards have to make a time zone change on only one back-to-back set (league average is 5.5), and one set involves no travel (Clippers-Lakers).

There is also a “Distance Traveled vs. Conference” data point: 38,782 miles for the Wizards, much closer to the league minimum of 37,209 versus the maximum of 49,408. Does Ted Leonsis see those savings in gas, or are folks missing out on credit card reward miles?

#3) In one sense, a kind early schedule chock-full of home games (10 of 14 in D.C. after playing the first two on the road) will be good for a team still desperate to find constancy and develop a better level of chemistry—both player-player and player(s)-new coach.

In another sense, this magnifies the urgency to get out and win early. We know John Wall is a soldier, but we still don’t know what bearing two summer knee surgeries will have on his ability to start strong. Or how Bradley Beal will attempt to act as a max player; whether Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris can be a solid defensive combination; and if Otto Porter’s balls have dropped any further.

Bonus: Wanna Get Away Games…

I always look at the calendar to see which Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday away games are within Bolt Bus, or close flight into a hub, or a reasonable drive away … in actual places one might want to go (don’t push it, Indiana, Detroit, Boston … Milwaukee?).

Here’s my list (flight info generally via Google flights, Amtrak, Southwest, etc.—don’t quote me on any of it):

@ Orlando on Saturday, Nov. 5 — $199 will currently buy you a nonstop, in on Saturday, out on Monday flight with United… from Dulles. Ooorr… you could fly Spirit Air from BWI to Orlando through Dallas-Ft. Worth. The robots and their flight logistics. No thanks.

@ Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 12 — You can catch our friend Spirit Air (probably best that you don’t) in early Saturday morning and out on Sunday for a cool $117 roundtrip … but otherwise, from other carriers, expect to pay at least $250 in airfare for a weekend in Chicago.

@ Brooklyn on Monday, Dec. 5 — Bolt Bus typically only sells tickets 4-to-6 weeks out, so be economical about it and don’t even think about splurging on Amtrak.

@ Miami on Monday, Dec. 12 — With a case of the Mundays, why not take a few days off from work? It’ll benefit you in price. Flying into Miami on Sunday and out on Tuesday (via DCA) will run you $217 to $240 with American Airlines.

@ Atlanta on Friday, Jan. 27 — You could really tolerate Spirit Air from BWI to Atlanta, in on Friday afternoon out on Saturday, for $71 bucks. Otherwise, Delta in the $153-$173 range could do the trick.

@ New Orleans on Sunday, Jan. 29 — I’m always a sucker for New Orleans, even in late-January, so it’s included even if not on the East Coast. Out of BWI on Southwest, $360 will get you there and back nonstop for the weekend (flying in on Saturday the 28th). There and back out of DCA nonstop could run you $285.

@ Philadelphia on Friday, Feb. 24 — Bolt Bus goes to Philly, too, as does the train. They actually might be exciting to watch this season (a tear just rolled down Sam Hinke’s cheek).

@ Charlotte on Saturday, Mar. 18 — Is it worth it to fly to Charlotte? The eternal questions probably not answered by airline flights are in the range of $240-$340 (more than $330 on Southwest out of DCA, $240 out of BWI at this juncture). Worth the six-hour drive from D.C.? Not sure that’s a question worth asking, either. A train looks to be about $70 one-way.

@ Cleveland on Saturday, Mar. 25 — NEVER! (But really, my wife’s grandma lives in Cleveland, was happy for LeBron, etc., and I just have to live with that.)


  1. Rubin’s 2015-16 edition is linked here.
  2. Producing #Content.
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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.