Fantasy Basketball Analysis: Back-to-Back-to-Back Games

Mike Brown, Pau Gasol

With Bynum's suspension, Kobe's wrist and an early back-to-back-to-back set, Gasol will be a workhorse in Week 1. Maybe pats on the head instead of punches to the chest will help, too. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

The 2011-12 NBA schedule is peculiar, for various reasons. For one thing, not only will each team play 66 games (in the NBA’s 66th season, no less), but every team is slated to play at least one back-to-back-to-back set – that’s three games in three consecutive nights – at least once during the season. This obviously has implications for older teams/players, guys playing through injuries, etc. Here are a few quick observations:

  • The Lakers will be first to experience a back-to-back-to-back set, right from the Christmas Day start of the season. Given Andrew Bynum’s five-game suspension and Kobe Bryant’s bum shooting wrist, expect Pau Gasol to be heavily leaned on in the first week.
  • The Boston Celtics (Week 16), Cleveland Cavaliers (Week 16), Detroit Pistons (Week 17), Golden State Warriors (Week 17), Memphis Grizzlies (Week 15), Philadelphia 76ers (Week 17), San Antonio Spurs (Week 17) and Washington Wizards (Week 15) all have a back-to-back-to-back set during what could be your league’s fantasy playoffs. While this might seem like a windfall for the fantasy-relevant players on these squads, it’s more nuanced than that (injuries, veteran players in need of rest and playoff standings).
  • Having a back-to-back-to-back set doesn’t guarantee that the team will have five games that week (e.g., Minnesota Timberwolves in Week 10).
  • Some of these three-in-three sets start in one week and end in the next.
  • The New Orleans Hornets are the only team to have a back-to-back-to-back set in the shortened week before All-Star Weekend (Week 9), but they’re not the only team to have three games that week.
  • Twelve teams have two back-to-back-to-back sets; the remaining 18 have just one.

Here’s a look at when each NBA team has three-in-three sets this season:

Atlanta Hawks (two): Week 2 (Jan. 5-7), Week 13 (March 23-25)

Boston Celtics (one): Week 16 (April 13-15)

Charlotte Bobcats (one): Week 3 (Jan. 12-14)

Chicago Bulls (one): Week 3 (Jan. 9-11)

Cleveland Cavaliers (one): Week 16 (April 13-15)

Dallas Mavericks (one): Week 11(March 8-10)

Denver Nuggets (two): Week 1-2 (Dec. 31, 2011-Jan. 2, 2012), Week 6 (Feb. 2-4)

Detroit Pistons (two): Week 6 (Jan. 30-Feb. 1), Week 17 (April 17-19)

Golden State Warriors (one): Week 17 (April 20-22)

Houston Rockets (one): Week 1 (Dec. 29-31)

Indiana Pacers (two): Week 8 (Feb. 14-16), Week 13 (March 22-24)

Los Angeles Clippers (two): Week 4 (Jan. 16-18), Week 13 (March 20-22)

Los Angeles Lakers (one): Week 1 (Dec. 25-27)

Memphis Grizzlies (one): Week 15 (April 2-4)

Miami Heat (one): Week 7-8 (Feb. 12-14)

Milwaukee Bucks (one): Week 13 (March 22-24)

Minnesota Timberwolves (two): Week 2-3 (Jan. 8-10), Week 10 (Feb. 28-March 1)

New Jersey Nets (two): Week 4-5 (Jan. 21-23), Week 8-9 (Feb. 18-20)

New Orleans Hornets (one): Week 9 (Feb. 20-22)

New York Knicks (one): Week 6 (Feb. 2-4)

Oklahoma City Thunder (one): Week 2 (Jan. 6-8)

Orlando Magic (one): Week 4 (Jan. 16-18)

Philadelphia 76ers (two): Week 3 (Jan. 9-11), Week 17 (April 16-18)

Phoenix Suns (two): Week 8 (Feb. 13-15), Week 12 (March 14-16)

Portland Trail Blazers (two): Week 5 (Jan. 23-25), Week 8 (Feb. 14-16)

Sacramento Kings (one): Week 2 (Jan. 3-5)

San Antonio Spurs (two): Week 13 (March 23-25), Week 17 (April 16-18)

Toronto Raptors (one): Week 3 (Jan. 9-11)

Utah Jazz (one): Week 7-8 (Feb. 12-14)

Washington Wizards (two): Week 13-14 (March 24-26), Week 15 (April 4-6)

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