NBA schedule czar dishes on creating 2023-24 slate, In-Season Tournament challenges

The NBA dropped its 2023-24 schedule Thursday, stretching from Lakers-Nuggets on Oct. 24 through the final day of the regular season on April 14. More than a few games jump out immediately, including an interesting slate of Christmas games and a few possible revenge contests.

But if you’re interested in the how and why instead of just the what, we’ve got something for you too.

The Athletic interviewed Evan Wasch, the NBA’s executive VP of basketball strategy and analytics, about how the schedule was made. Wasch leads the group responsible for putting the schedule together each season.

In a special episode of The Athletic NBA Show, Wasch goes through all of the details behind the schedule-making process. This year was the first time the NBA has had to account for its new In-Season Tournament, which led to more problem-solving than usual as the league put together the schedule. Wasch discusses how the league built the schedule, when the process began, whether it’s mindful of competing against the NFL this year on Christmas, if there are makeup calls from season to season for teams with too many back-to-backs or rest disadvantages and whether the league took advantage of the new Phoenix exception in the CBA.

(Photo illustration: Budrul Chukrut / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

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