After a tough loss at home to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers head to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves before coming right back home for back-to-back games at Staples Center on Saturday and Sunday.
Some may prefer the quick road trip, but head coach Luke Walton is not among them, particularly when it is a longer flight.
Walton told Mark Medina of the OC Register that the Lakers plan to talk to the NBA about these one-game road trips, noting that a trip somewhere close is much different than across the country:
“If we’re doing a one-game trip to Phoenix or Golden State, that’s easy,” Walton said. “But here you’re changing time zones and losing two hours.”
Walton added that the NBA is trying to do the right thing in trying to lower the number of back-to-backs, but he’d rather have those than these single game trips:
“It comes from a good place,” Walton said. “The NBA is trying to find a way to get (fewer) back-to-backs. They are trying to even things out […] I’d rather have more back-to-backs,” Walton said. “If there’s a way to do it where there’s a closer city, there’s a lot of different options. Without all the information, I have no idea how to suggest what’s a better way.”
Walton does bring up an interesting point. When teams do long road trips, they are usually flying to different cities in close proximity with each other. This lessens the number of times they cross time zones and helps with rest and getting normal sleep.
Usually, even on quick trips, teams will face multiple teams in the same region such as the Rockets and Spurs in Texas, or the Knicks and Nets in New York. Going all the way to Minnesota for one game, as the Lakers are set to do, does seem like an odd occurrence, but it’s the sixth time the Lakers have had a trip like this.
Walton understands that the NBA is trying to do the right thing and Commissioner Adam Silver is always looking for ways to improve the league so things could be different next year if they can come up with a solution.