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Distance Traveled by NBA Teams during a Season

12 Dec

Have you ever wondered how many miles teams/players travel during typical NBA season?
If you have… well, you can join this one-member club! ;-)

Because even though it probably doesn’t matter now (with private jets and great service provided to the players can it have any effect on their performance?) it’s a trivia which has made me curious for some time…

So to calculate average distance traveled by NBA teams during a typical season I used schedule from insidehoops.com, latitude and longitude of U.S. and Canadian Cities from infoplease.com and an algorithm converting it into distance in miles from meridianworlddata.com. Additionally, I wanted to include some information about long-ish journeys so based on distribution I set a bar at 800 miles.

Results for the last 2 years are…
1.344.475 miles traveled by all NBA Teams in 2010/11 [44816 miles per team] and
1.360.641 miles traveled by all NBA Teams in 2009/10 [45355 miles per team]
.
To put it in context, every team travels around the world 11,5 times per season… and it’s without playoffs!

Here’s a more detailed breakdown for each team [numbers are rounded to the integer]…

Team in 10/11 Total Miles Traveled Per Game # Over 800 Miles Team in 09/10 Total Miles Traveled Per Game # Over 800 Miles
Miami 59454 725 42 Portland 57921 706 31
Portland 54870 669 29 Minnesota 55509 677 33
Houston 54447 664 37 Houston 52145 636 33
Minnesota 51833 632 34 Golden State 51384 627 23
New Orleans 50909 621 28 Orlando 49154 599 32
Oklahoma City 49568 604 35 Utah 49116 599 24
Orlando 49530 604 33 Miami 48153 587 28
San Antonio 48888 596 34 New Orleans 47778 583 27
Boston 48374 590 28 San Antonio 47662 581 30
Utah 47106 574 22 Boston 47268 576 26
LA Lakers 46116 562 25 Memphis 46986 573 27
Sacramento 44869 547 20 Oklahoma City 46925 572 27
Milwaukee 44409 542 21 Phoenix 46205 563 26
Dallas 43838 535 27 Dallas 46202 563 31
Atlanta 43542 531 12 Sacramento 46058 562 18
Memphis 43509 531 17 Denver 45084 550 32
Denver 43342 529 28 LA Clippers 44616 544 25
Phoenix 43239 527 22 LA Lakers 44297 540 23
Golden State 43078 525 16 Atlanta 44045 537 12
Charlotte 42910 523 13 Charlotte 42821 522 17
New York 42750 521 18 New York 42610 520 16
Washington 41828 510 19 Philadelphia 42073 513 20
LA Clippers 41750 509 21 Washington 42007 512 17
New Jersey 40481 494 16 Toronto 41137 502 16
Philadelphia 39399 480 19 Milwaukee 40100 489 16
Indiana 38910 475 18 Indiana 40042 488 17
Detroit 38818 473 16 Detroit 40015 488 17
Cleveland 36390 444 16 New Jersey 38339 468 13
Toronto 35232 430 12 Cleveland 37799 461 16
Chicago 35087 428 14 Chicago 37192 454 16

A couple of notes here…
1) Poor Blazers… not only they were hit by injury bug but also they became so lonely on the US map ;-) Without Seattle and Vancouver in the league they probably will be at the top for years…

2) Portland, Miami, Orlando and Minnesota are kind of obvious because they are on the edges and corners of United States… but what the hell is going on with Houston? As a third Texas’ team do they get the least desirable schedule?

3) Have you ever heard about east coast bias? Forget it, in NBA schedule there’s a midwestern bias! ;-)
But seriously speaking, it’s nice to have many teams around your city.

4) I think it’s interesting that Clippers and Lakers’ schedule doesn’t favor the latter team…

5) Conspiracy theory alert! Did Miami schedule get worse because of “The Decision”? ;-)

With all that said we have a nice fundament for comparison… to the schedule shortened by lockout:
[data on the left in sorted by average per game and data on the right is sorted by city's name]

Team in 11/12 Total Miles Traveled Per Game # Over 800 Miles Team in 11/12 Total Miles Traveled Per Game # Over 800 Miles
Orlando 46221 700 32 Atlanta 38744 587 16
Sacramento 44335 672 24 Boston 33617 509 20
Portland 43391 657 26 Charlotte 31184 472 11
Miami 43280 656 26 Chicago 30786 466 14
Utah 42836 649 23 Cleveland 28567 433 11
Minnesota 42362 642 25 Dallas 33427 506 21
LA Lakers 41697 632 24 Denver 37027 561 27
LA Clippers 41436 628 25 Detroit 25863 392 7
Golden State 39434 597 19 Golden State 39434 597 19
Houston 39256 595 27 Houston 39256 595 27
Memphis 39054 592 21 Indiana 31571 478 14
New Orleans 39044 592 20 LA Clippers 41436 628 25
Atlanta 38744 587 16 LA Lakers 41697 632 24
Denver 37027 561 27 Memphis 39054 592 21
Phoenix 36549 554 22 Miami 43280 656 26
Oklahoma City 34584 524 17 Milwaukee 33963 515 16
San Antonio 34515 523 20 Minnesota 42362 642 25
New York 34050 516 14 New Jersey 33211 503 11
Milwaukee 33963 515 16 New Orleans 39044 592 20
Boston 33617 509 20 New York 34050 516 14
Dallas 33427 506 21 Oklahoma City 34584 524 17
New Jersey 33211 503 11 Orlando 46221 700 32
Philadelphia 31962 484 15 Philadelphia 31962 484 15
Indiana 31571 478 14 Phoenix 36549 554 22
Charlotte 31184 472 11 Portland 43391 657 26
Chicago 30786 466 14 Sacramento 44335 672 24
Toronto 30754 466 14 San Antonio 34515 523 20
Washington 30158 457 11 Toronto 30754 466 14
Cleveland 28567 433 11 Utah 42836 649 23
Detroit 25863 392 7 Washington 30158 457 11

Kings and Magic are clearly the losers of this year’s schedule lottery ;-) Although I’m surprised that with less than usual games between conferences average travel distance didn’t change much…

P.S. If you are interested in a historical view of those traveled miles visit my next post titled:
Journey through Miles of NBA Travel History.

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5 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Scrutiny

 

Tags: , , , ,

5 responses to “Distance Traveled by NBA Teams during a Season

  1. business jets

    January 11, 2012 at 10:18

    Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article post. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

     
  2. Adam

    February 11, 2013 at 23:39

    nice work, but results are somewhat suprising. did you take into consideration that when a team plays consecutive away games, it travels just between the cities on that road trip, not between home town and away cities all the time?
    I also wonder if there is, lets say 2 days break between 2 consecutive road games, does the team decide to return home or do they stay on the road. Or, do teams return home anyway on the same day if the away game is in the relatively nearby city?

     
    • wiLQ

      February 12, 2013 at 16:46

      “did you take into consideration that when a team plays consecutive away games, it travels just between the cities on that road trip”
      That’s how I did it.

      “I also wonder if there is, lets say 2 days break between 2 consecutive road games, does the team decide to return home or do they stay on the road. Or, do teams return home anyway on the same day if the away game is in the relatively nearby city?”
      I have no idea how does it work in real life [maybe it depends on hotels or distance to home?], so I didn’t include it in any way.

       

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