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NBA Schedule 2014-2015: Utah Jazz quick analysis

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This is the short one

"Just a heads up Bean, we're sweeping you in 2014-15."
"Just a heads up Bean, we're sweeping you in 2014-15."
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Hello ladies and gentlemen, the NBA released their schedule today. You can find it here, or on any of the other sites (ESPN, etc), and you can find the Utah Jazz schedule on their site here. At THIS site we have a whole section for schedules -- so all of our stuff will be found there. While the big schedule review is still cooking in the oven, let's go over a few points here now.

In shocking news, this season -- like every season since the lockout -- will have the Jazz playing in 82 games, with half being at home. They will play every Eastern Conference for twice, once at home and once on the road. The Jazz will play Los Angeles Lakers (2 home, 1 road), New Orleans Pelicans (1 home, 2 road), Phoenix Suns (1 home, 2 road), and NBA defending champs San Antonio Spurs (2 home, 1 road) only three times. The other 10 West teams will be faced four times.

Utah will be involved in 19 back-to-back sets, which is "normal", and somewhat mitigated by long breaks for Christmas and the extended All-Star Weekend / Break this season. I count cumulative games in the 'objective' way, and do not discount games played from the equation. As a result, the Jazz play 23 games that will be the 3rd game in four nights (correction from twitter). While they will be involved in only 2 sets where a game is the fourth game in five nights, because of the oddity of this schedule (back to back, off day, single game, off day, back to back) they still play for different sets where a game will be the filth game in seven nights. In between those two types there will be 19 games that are the fourth game in six nights.

Cumulative wear and tear is a problem for: older teams, or teams struggling with injuries. Right now the Jazz are neither of those things, and with the concept that our head coach Quin Snyder could go anywhere from 9 deep to 11 deep on any given night, well, let's just say that we shouldn't hear anything about tired legs.

If you combined tired legs with who we are playing by my count there are 9 schedule losses on the board. There are only 4 schedule wins, and the large disparity here is that last season the team faced a lot of teams on the last game of a road trip, and are coming back from the Pacific time zone. This season the Jazz are the set-up team for that situation, and the Mountain time zone teams that will pick up a bunch of schedule wins this year look to be the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. It's a shame, but it's just the way it goes.

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Games per Day:

Looking at the team month-by-month a few things pop out.

Days off Longest Trips
Month Days Games GPD Non-Travel In a row (f) Home Road
1 OCT 3 2 0.67 1 1 1 1 1
2 NOV 30 15 0.50 9 2 2 2 5
3 DEC 31 15 0.48 6 4 1 3 6
4 JAN 31 15 0.48 12 2 3 4 3
5 FEB 28 11 0.39 12 8 1 3 2
6 MAR 31 16 0.52 10 2 1 5 4
7 APR 15 8 0.53 5 2 1 2 2
Season 169 82 0.49 55 21

GPD is games per day. And outside of an unusually active October, this schedule appears to be much more balanced than previous years. Just take a trip down memory lane and LAST season the Jazz played 17 games in November, and 16 in December. In this case the Jazz are playing 3 fewer games in the first two real months. FURTHERMORE, there's actually practice time in Q4 for once. Last year the Jazz didn't start getting major off-days until January (where they only played 12 games in 31 days last year).

If you straight up compare the GPD for each month vs. the last THREE seasons cumulative (and really, no other Jazz site goes into this much detail. We don't have T-shirts for sale though. So, you know. We can't officially clothe you) this is what you get:

GPD
Month 2012-2015 2014-2015 +/-
1 OCT 0.57 0.67 0.10
2 NOV 0.53 0.5 -0.03
3 DEC 0.49 0.48 -0.01
4 JAN 0.44 0.48 0.04
5 FEB 0.42 0.39 -0.03
6 MAR 0.53 0.52 -0.01
7 APR 0.48 0.53 0.05

Yeah. So October has more games, but it's 2 games to start the season in three days. Not the end of the world. And January has the Jazz playing 15 games instead of a much lower number, but every other month that matters is easier this year. Well, maybe not easier (we do play some tough teams), but all things being equal, THIS season is more equal than others. April is harder than normal, but if you're a good team that's not a bad thing you want to earn your playoff spot. If we're going to the lotto again (likely in the Western Conference) then that's not a bad thing either.

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Home Stands, Road Trips, and trends:

Remember when we were a great team and would get something like 8 home games in a row? Man, I miss those days. Looking beyond all the 2 game cheapies out there, this is how the Jazz schedule looks this year:

  • October 29th, 2014: Season opens with a home game against the Houston Rockets
  • November 9th to 15th, 2014: First big road trip, @ Pistons, @ Pacers, @ Hawks, @ Knicks, @ Raptors -- five games in seven nights. Yikes.
  • November 29th to December 5th, 2014: First home stand: vs Clippers, vs Nuggets, vs. Raptors, vs. Magic -- four games spread out over seven nights, with two days off before the first game and two days off after the last one
  • December 14th to 22nd, 2014: This is the second big road trip, @ Wizards , @ Pelicans, @ Heat, @ Magic , @ Hornets , @ Grizzlies. This is a six game trip over 9 days, and includes a whole mess of back to backs, 3 in four, 4 in six, and 5 in seven games. It's right before Christmas, and the Jazz will be really looking forwards to it after this.
  • December 23rd to 27th, 2014: This is the Christmas break.
  • January 7th to 10th, 2015: Road trip #3, @ Bulls, @ Thunder, @ Rockets. Ouch. It is three games in four nights. Double ouch.
  • January 18th to 22nd, 2015: Road trip #4, @ Spurs, @ Cavaliers , @ Bucks. This is thankfully only three games in five nights, and after the first game I think the Jazz will go home first, before flying out East. It's still technically a road trip.
  • January 24th to 30th, 2015: Home Stand #2, vs. Nets, vs. Celtics, vs. Clippers, vs. Warriors, it's four games in 9 nights, but it's Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, and Stephen Curry. Interesting point though? The Nets and Clippers games are schedule 'wins', where we have the favorable advantage due to who is more tired than the other.
  • February 12th to 19th, 2015: These eight days are the All-Star Break. It's long. What are we going to write about? Man . . . life is tough for bloggers.
  • February 20th to 27th, 2014: Home Stand #3, vs. Trail Blazers, vs. Spurs, vs. Lakers -- these are the first games after the All-Star break. All three teams are going to be trying to win.
  • March 3rd to 8th, 2015: Road Trip #5, @ Grizzlies, @ Celtics, @ 76ers, @ Nets -- four games in six nights. Not easy, especially not in March.
  • March 10th to 18th, 2014: Home Stand #4, vs. Knicks, vs. Rockets, vs. Pistons, vs. Hornets, vs. Wizards. Nice and easy, five games in 10 nights and no travel.
  • April 15th, 2015 -- this will be the final game of the season, a road game against the Houston Rockets.

The Jazz will be on National TV three times:

  1. November 22nd, 2014: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz -- NBA TV
  2. March 8th, 2015: Utah Jazz @ Brooklyn Nets -- NBA TV
  3. March 18th, 2015: Washington Wizards @ Utah Jazz -- ESPN

."Banana Stand":

I can't predict how this season will go, but I can predict how my night will go, as I do the full review of the schedule including putting out those snazzy photo shop calendar downloads for your smartphones / tablets. (Again, sorry we don't have T-shirts though) I am going to go out on a limb here and predict 28 wins though. It's lower than I want, and as we get closer to the season I am sure my prediction will change. But I can't predict injuries, trades, and other crazy things that happen during a season. It is possible that the Jazz could go on to win 35 games this year. After all, this is a team that somehow finds a way to beat the Spurs, Thunder, and Heat every year.

  • October wins: 0
  • November wins: 3 (vs. Suns, @ Pistons, vs. Pelicans)
  • December wins: 8 (vs. Nuggets, vs. Raptors, vs. Magic, @ Kings, vs. Heat, @ Magic, vs. 76ers, vs. Timberwolves)
  • January wins: 5 (vs. Pacers (expecting injuries here), vs. Lakers, vs. Nets, vs. Celtics, vs. Clippers (schedule loss for LAC))
  • February wins: 3 (vs. Lakers, @ Nuggets, vs. Bucks)
  • March wins: 6 (@ 76ers, vs. Knicks, vs. Pistons, @ Lakers, vs. Timberwolves, @ Timberwolves)
  • April wins: 3 (vs. Nuggets, vs. Kings, vs. Mavericks)

Yes, I think we'll sweep the Lakers this year. Give us Jazz fans that at least!

Well, the wins aren't going to be that big this year, but the play of our growing youth will be. It's going to be a fun season with Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, Jeremy Evans, Trevor Booker, Ian Clark, Carrick Felix, and Steve Novak. And a fun season writing for all of you, every day!

Hang on as I have to eat, and write a few other posts, and then finish up the schedule review.