The coronavirus pandemic disrupted sports throughout the entire world. After delaying the season several months, the NBA was finally able to declare a champion in early October when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games. While finishing the season was a monumental accomplishment by the league, the delay forced the NBA to completely alter their schedule for the upcoming season. Here is a breakdown of the upcoming NBA schedule.
Typical NBA Schedule
The NBA regular season typically begins in October. Training camps and preseason games start roughly one month before the first game of the season. Since the NBA Finals just ended a few weeks ago, the league obviously could not stick to this schedule. The league wants to give the players that made deep runs in the playoffs some time to rest, so training camp is being held much later than normal.
2020-21 Training Camps
While it is not fully confirmed, there are several reports stating that the NBA will open training camp for all 30 teams on December 1. If these reports are accurate, then the players that just participated in the NBA Finals will get roughly two months of rest. This is three months shorter than the normal gap between seasons, but the NBA simply cannot afford to push back the 2020-21 season any further. This will also only give new draft picks two weeks before they are required to join their teams for training.
Regular Season Schedule
At this moment, the tentative start date for the 2020-21 NBA regular season is December 22. This start date is crucial to recouping money lost from last season’s delay because it allows the league to hold their annual celebration on Christmas Day. Due to the later start date, the NBA is planning on only planning 72 games in the upcoming regular season instead of the normal 82 games.
After the Season
The shortened schedule will allow the NBA to declare a new champion in early July 2021. This will give players time to rest before flying to Tokyo to represent their countries at the Olympics. It also ensures that the league can go back to their normal routine for the 2021-22 season barring any future delays.