This NBA season has been tougher than most. Amid the constant threat of COVID-19, no fans in the arenas, and a brutal schedule, players have been having a hard time adjusting.
In regards to the latter, specifically, NBA personnel are describing it as the worst schedule they've ever seen.
"Hands down, it's the worst schedule I've seen in 25 years in the league," said one veteran assistant coach. "It's utterly insane."
One veteran NBA head coach called it "brutal."
One veteran NBA head athletic trainer said it's far worse than the Orlando bubble.
"Going into the bubble, we had all these different anxieties about the games, but without travel," the head athletic trainer said. "This is literally exponentially more difficult. It's such a cumulative effect."
Worse still, they're linking the poor scheduling to the influx of injuries that have occurred this campaign.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 2021 All-Stars have missed 15% of games this season, on pace to be the second-highest rate in NBA history. The only season that saw a higher rate was the 2014-15 season (16.8%).
"Every dumb soft-tissue [injury] that can happen is happening and will only get worse," the NBA GM said.
The NBA made a number of sacrifices to ensure that this season would be able to start. While they did shorten the total games to 72, they also shortened the amount of time between those games, meaning teams are having to play a lot of matches in a pretty short amount of time.
Considering the number of injuries we've seen this year, we can probably expect the league to roll back and expand the length of the season going forward.