No team was dealt more significant injuries to their core players last season than the Bulls, with Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, Otto Porter and Wendell Carter Jr. all missing significant time with various injuries.
The result was a 22-win season and more questions than answers heading into Year 3 of the post-Jimmy Butler rebuild.
The NBA announced its 2019-20 schedule on Monday, and while the Bulls only have one nationally-televised game, there is one distinct advantage they have working in their favor: Rest.
NBA 2019-20: Team's rest advantage, the number of games which each team plays a game with Less/Equal/More rest than their opponents. Teams displayed in order of average rest advantage: CHI has the biggest average rest advantage, ORL the least. pic.twitter.com/RlryYXbpkV— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) August 12, 2019
To make that graph simpler, red is bad and blue is good.
While the actual number of games isn't listed, it's apparent that the Bulls will have the fewest number of games in which their opponent has had more days of rest than them. In the new era of Load Management, that's significant.
It's not a surprise, then, that the Bulls have 11 back-to-back sets this season, tied for the fewest of any team in the league. To put that in context, the NBA just hit an all-time low with teams averaging just 12.4 back-to-back sets this season.
Other NBA schedule facts: Back-to-backs are at a historic low — for fifth straight season (teams will average 12.4 this season, down from 13.3 last season.) Five games in seven nights also have been reduced 9.5 percent. https://t.co/jCx8b4ZPEK— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 12, 2019
Even still, the Bulls are below that number. They'll have the rest advantage or the same amount of rest days more than any other team in the league.
Breaking the rest factor down even further, here's a look at the advantages by month.
NBA 2019-20 Team rest advantage by month. This one is a little trickier to read, so zoom in and pay attention. Each bar shows the number of games in each month each team has Less/Equal/More rest than their opponents. Got it? pic.twitter.com/Iy4Ry81jhS— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) August 12, 2019
Much of the Bulls' rest advantage comes later in the season. That's good for obvious reasons, as players tend to need more rest in the post-All-Star break dog days than before it. The Bulls' most difficult stretch of the season on paper is in March and April, but they'll be well rested compared to the teams they're going up against.
Take it for what you will, but the Bulls got a nice boost from the NBA schedulers in this regard.