At first glance, the newly released 2015-16 NBA schedule looks more or less the same as the ones before it. Each team plays 82 games, 41 home and away, and there will be 1,230 games overall taking place during a six-month period. But if you look a little closer, this season's slate is a better version.
Thanks to the work of schedule analysts like ESPN contributor Jeremias Engelmann, part of our Real Plus-Minus team; ESPN Insider's Tom Haberstroh, who profiled schedule-related issues last fall; and Houston Rockets consultant Ed Kupfer, there has been more scrutiny than ever on the league schedule. This has led to concerns about issues such as too many road back-to-backs and the dreaded cluster of four games in five nights. The problems are multiple -- players get tired or hurt, performance suffers on tired legs, competitiveness is skewed and fans who buy tickets to see star players show up and find that player with a "DNP -- coach's decision" designation.