With the NBA set to return July 31st, information has been coming out steadily on the way the league plans to handle this season. The handling of this season and all of it’s questions continue to compound into more issues that will have to be handled in the next league year. New information on the schedule next year came out from Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
Schlenk said that could mean more back-to-backs and sets of four games in five nights for teams next season -- things the NBA has actively tried to move away from in recent years. https://t.co/xjJ9dQFcla— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 9, 2020
While this has many implications for the league at-large next year, this brings up some questions the Pacers will have to answer as the next few months unfold. Condensing 82 games into a shorter time frame than usual, compounded with this season being played in such close proximity to the start of next season, and there is a significant worry about injuries and fatigue.
Victor Oladipo did not play in the one back-to-back the Pacers had on the schedule once he returned from injury. It remains to be seen whether or not there will be a plan in place for Victor regarding back-to-backs next season.
In recent Memory, Tony Parker came off of a very similar injury (Quad tear) to Vic in 2018 and played 3/5 potential back to backs when he was in the lineup for San Antonio. However, Parker played the fewest minutes per game of his career up to that point (19.5) and transitioned into a bench role for much of that season.
Perhaps more relevantly, Kawhi Leonard was coming of a quad injury last season with the Raptors. He did not play in a single back-to-back last season (0 of 8 possible). Victor will likely be in a similar minutes heavy and more dependent load like Leonard saw last season. How the Pacers and Oladipo tackle the crunched season next year will be of note, but I suspect Kawhi’s case will serve as a model.