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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 11:00 am  |  17 responses

Would a Shortened Season Be Good for the NBA?


NBA fans are understandably upset about the League cancelling games, but once the smoke clears, a shorter regular season may not be such a bad thing. The economics wouldn’t be great — hence why they normally play 82 games, not less — but quality of play might improve dramatically. Or so argue some of the people in this NY Times piece: “The 30 N.B.A. teams each play 82 games from mid-fall through early spring — and 16 of them make the playoffs, leaching some significance out of the regular season. Why not play fewer games? A lockout shouldn’t be the only reason to reduce a bloated schedule. Sanity might be. ‘Seventy would be great,’ said Jeff Van Gundy, the ESPN/ABC analyst who coached the Knicks during the 1998-99 season, which was shrunk to 50 games by a lockout. ‘But only if you stretched them out over the same amount of time as the 82-game season. That would eliminate almost every back-to-back situation.’ Bill Simmons, the editor in chief of Grantland.com, an ESPN site, said 75 games would be ideal. ‘That’s what the players say is the best length because of the wear and tear on their bodies,’ Simmons said Tuesday in a telephone interview. ‘To get rid of those seven games would have a huge effect on the quality of play. You’d get rid of the ‘schedule loss,’ where, say, the Suns come into New York for their fourth game in five nights; they lose and they don’t care. They toss it off as a schedule loss.’ Shortening the season would certainly have an effect on N.B.A. economics. Arenas accustomed to booking 41 games a year would be hurt. Commissioner David Stern might have to take a prorated pay cut. And the local and national television networks would clamor to pay less — unless they could be persuaded that the quality of play was better than the quantity of broadcasts. Ah, maybe not. But if fewer games kept players a bit healthier and the games more compelling, why not try it? … As for players in shape, David Thorpe, a basketball trainer at the IMG Academies who has an extensive N.B.A. client list, said that a significantly shorter schedule would not necessarily be beneficial. If players participated in fewer games in the same period as the 82-game schedule, their skills might actually slide — not that players with minor hurts wouldn’t welcome time off rather than play that seventh game in nine days. ‘If you jump more, you jump better,’ Thorpe said. ‘If you shoot more, you shoot better. One reason why we see a really high level of play in May and June, when you’d think the superstars would be the most tired, is that they’re in amazing shape and challenge themselves all the time.’”

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  • http://slamonline.com LA Huey

    Fewer regular season games would mean every single game matters more but, to the league, it wouldn’t be worth the financial short fall.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Simply put, no.

  • #6marjons

    who cares?/ just play

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    To tell you the truth, it’s not too many games, it’s too many teams. Just sayin’!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Older teams like the Spurs, Celtics and Lakers beware.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    THE GAMES WOULD NOT BE BETTER IF THERE WERE A FEW LESS. THATS WEAK THINKING.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    The thing they need to fix in the NBA is making sure the right teams go to the playoffs. For example, I don’t think it should be the best 8 in EACH conference, but the 16 best OVERALL. Last season, and other seasons in the past, we have had western teams who had a better winning %, yet didn’t make the playoffs, but in the east, it is a weaker conference, meaning a .400 team can make the playoffs. (I havn’t explained this great, but you probably get my drift.)

  • Jack Knife

    It would really suck for LeBron to finally win the championship this season since everyone will put an * on like they did for the Spurs in 1999.

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    I thought that the quality of play wasn’t up to par during the last short season. That’s not something to look forward to.

  • Ben Ireland

    @GP23
    I get your reasoning, but in terms of travel costs and the players actually travelling so far, that wouldn’t work. It’s logistics more than anything. The 8 from each works. I would like the same idea to be applied to All-Stars tho, where the 2 top vote getters by fans pick from the players that were voted in by fans and coaches.

  • rich

    it would be good for boston and dallas. old legs get a rest and less of a beating

  • http://myspace.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    IDK i think a long season really separates the the contenders from the pretenders. This is the pros not college. Men, not boys. And it’s not supposed to be a cake walk for teams with aging superstars just because they’re bodies take a pounding, thats what subs are for. I love the Celtics and all but I dont think they deserve to be in the Finals off nostalgia alone. 70 games is NOTHING.. Between reffing and playing I’m in like 8-12 games a week! I’ll get out there and play 70 games and I aint no pro. Can we not be wussies please?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    nash and hill would benefit!

  • MikeC.

    The argument that less games would lead to poorer games due to “less jumping” and “less shooting” doesn’t hold much water. Less games would lead to less game-time wear and tear which, in theory, would lead to more practice time. I think it’s a good idea.

  • Groves

    there are not too many games and there are not too many teams

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ Yep.

  • Ali

    yes, each team home and away, 58/season. less grind on players.

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