NBA Schedule 2017-18: Who has the hardest schedule?

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 10: James Harden
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 10: James Harden /

Now that the NBA has released their schedule for 2017-18, let’s take a look and see which team has the most difficult schedule.

The NBA just released its full regular season schedule on Monday, so let’s take a deeper look to see which teams have difficult stretches and arguably the most difficult schedule in the NBA.

The Houston Rockets are one of the few teams to have a tough schedule this upcoming season. First off, they play on national television — either NBA TV, ABC, ESPN or TNT — 40 times this season, only second to the Golden State Warriors. They have a stretch in December where they play at Oklahoma City, at Boston and at Washington. Then a few games later, play against Golden State at home. That’s a pretty tough stretch, featuring four of the top 12 teams in the league.

Then in March, the Rockets have a stretch against the Celtics, Thunder, Bucks, Raptors, Mavericks and Spurs. These sets of games will likely determine where the Rockets place in the Western Conference.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the other team that I believe has an extremely difficult schedule. With Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and other young players in the fold, they have some tough parts to their season. They have a four-game road trip at Boston, Washington, Milwaukee and Phoenix. Three of those teams are playoff teams.

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Then during the middle of the season, they go to Cleveland, play Golden State at home, go to Houston and Golden State and come back to Portland, Minnesota and Memphis. That’s a real rough stretch of basketball right there. Obviously, playing in the Western Conference makes all the divisional and in-conference games extremely competitive.

The NBA has eliminated all the “four games in five nights” stretches, but some teams have still gotten the short end of the stick. Two of those teams are the Rockets and Lakers.