A drastic rest disparity could heavily influence the NBA season

Last week's reveal of the 2020-21 NBA schedule confirmed one important wrinkle to this unusual season: There's going to be a massive rest and recovery disparity that could factor heavily into the final standings.

Since the league expanded to its current 16-team playoff format in 1984, the average gap between the end of the NBA Finals and opening night has been 141 days. This season, that time off has been cut nearly in half, down to 71 days.

Teams and superstars who advance deep into the postseason always face an offseason rest disadvantage as compared to the lottery squads, but this year that difference has never been so drastic. Some of the league's brightest stars haven't played in a real game for more than 10 months. Others will make their season debuts after less than three months away.

Here's a look at the striking time-off gaps and what they might mean.