Usually, it is the teams from the West Coast that end up with the heaviest travel schedules in the NBA — it’s just the nature of geography. There are a lot of teams clustered along the Eastern seaboard that are not far from each other, where in the West it was common to have a Los Angeles then Denver back-to-back and that flight is close to two-and-a-half hours. Things are just more spread out in the West.
This year, however, the travel honor goes to a midwestern squad — the Minnesota Timberwolves. NBA stats guru Ed Küpfer laid it out in a graph he put on Twitter.
This is an interesting stat, but former front office executive in Brooklyn and now ESPN analyst Bobby Marks made an excellent point:
The NBA worked hard to balance out the rest issue — limiting the number of nights where one team is on the second night of a back-to-back, while the other team is rested. Still, the rest issue matters. So does just when you catch a team — do you catch a team like the Washington Wizards or Denver Nuggets when they are fully healthy and playing well, or do you catch them when they are battling a critical injury, or when they are just in a slump? Those things can be random, but they impact wins and losses.
And in what will be a tight playoff spot for the final couple slots in each conference, those handful of wins or losses could matter a lot.