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Should NBA continue shortened seasons?

Nick Sannicandro May 9, 2012 Around the NBA, News, Uncategorized 11 Comments

NBA-Lockout

As we look back, just about 6 months ago, whether or not we would see a 2011-12 NBA season was in serious jeopardy. The selfish owners and even more selfish players could not meet eye to eye on almost any of the subjects of debate and called off talks multiple times. Every time we thought it might be in the home stretch there was another setback to spoil the start to the season. But looking back as the regular season has come to a close, we have to ask…was the shortened season a blessing in disguise? 

While many will point to the severe spike of injuries thanks to the shortened season (even David Stern acknowledges the possibility), we have to consider that much of this was because of the condensed schedule and rapid fire road trips teams had to endure throughout the season. A 66 game season itself had little to do with the injuries, rather it was how the games were scheduled that did. But in 66 games, the NBA had its usual ebbs and flows as it would in an 82 game season. We still saw the cream of the crop rise to the top both as teams and individual players, and we saw enough games to have a clear idea as to which teams have the best chance at winning it all, so what is the problem with 66 games?

Critics of the idea would claim their argument on three foundations:

A. They feel that there isn't enough games to allow the best teams to make it to the postseason, some teams may sneak into the playoffs that don't belong.

B. There are not enough games for an MVP to clearly distinguish themselves

and C. Fans would miss out on certain matchups between teams that don't face each other due to the cut in games. (Ex: Memphis may not see Boston twice each season)

While these may be common concerns, lets take a look at this season to see if they are legitimate concerns by looking at the 2011-12 NBA season. First off, did any team make the playoffs that didn't belong? Did any team MISS the playoffs that should have been in?  The only team that may have a gripe is Houston over Utah, but other than that unless you are a completely oblivious Milwaukee fan, the answer is a profound "No".

How about the seeding, was that off much? Its fair to say that Chicago, Miami, San Antonio and Oklahoma City were the four best teams this regular season based on their performances all year so their seeding is safe. Indy had a terrific start to the season and cooled off late, Boston and the Lakers had the opposite, thus their middle seed being correct. It is safe to say that if this were a normal 82 game season, the playoff seeding would look pretty similar to what it is right now, right?

Kevin-durant-

How about the MVP race? There were only two players coming into the season that had legitimate shots at the MVP, and those two players were the ones that found their name in discussions at the end of the season as well. Kevin Durant and Lebron James are the NBA's two best players, if the season were 15 games or it were 100 those two would be the MVP and Runner up 100 times out of 100. A shortened season wouldn't allow for a second or third tier player such as Blake Griffin to sneak into the argument.

Lastly, the argument for fans missing certain matchups. While this may rob certain long distance fans of seeing their former home team, how many of us will cry about not seeing the Suns in Boston every year? Will Memphis fans miss the annual trip to the Fed Ex Forum by the Bucks? I didn't think so. There are A LOT of meaningless and quite boring matchups in the NBA on any given night. A shortened season would reduce this, giving us a far better ratio of  interesting games to less interesting games. 

The NBA may even consider it down the road, so why not?  Would you be opposed to a 66 game season that isn't condensed as this seasons was? What would your concerns be? Personally, I think this would be a step in the right direction to making basketball relevant again on a more national scale. Yes, we all LOVE the game of basketball but the reality is it is fourth in many cities behind Football, Baseball, and Hockey, something needs to change to save the game, and this may be it. 

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  • DJisinthehall

    A big problem is stats. Its a significant part of the game like it or not.
    Less games, less stats.
    Another is each team and the NBA loses Millions upon millions by shortening the season. ( why it really will never happen)
    The reason they should do it, better post season basketball and better basketball in general.
    I would prefer less games, so each game means more and the players play harder. The NFL is no.1 and always will be because its only 17 games so everyone gears up for it. ALso, why college basketball is so good, each game means a ton.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/d99929562944345869 James

    Nick blog- skipped.

  • paul

    I think it’s a good idea to have less games over a longer season.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redslovechild1 Redslovechild

    Less games mean less revenue.
    Will the players be willing to reduce their salaries by 20%?

  • NorthernGreen

    Being from the north where winters are very long with limited daylight and cold weather which limits outdoor activity, I personally prefer the 82 game season. I don’t like baseball or golf. Too boring. I am able to go to a game or two each year. Games are expensive but the money helps businesses and makes it easier to pay the salaries of the players. What would help is to tighten up on refereeing. Establish instant replays. Penalize refs for wrong calls. Many have told me that they don’t watch because stars are given preferential calls and others think that games have predetermined outcomes as is “professional wrestling”. Tighten things up and play on!!!

  • Andrew

    this will never happen every team should see each team a minimum of twice in case of playoff matchups and a huge loss of money for players dont see it possible

  • Quest

    Shrink the league and dissolve not profit markets, makes it more competitive and more financially viable which is what the lockout was all about, right. Then determine # gmes w remaining teams.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    Ok I get the point on the loss of revenue , but really, how many teams play in front of 1/10 filled crowds on a nightly basis? You mean to tell me that they’re really going to lose that much revenue? yes the nightly sellout teams will hurt a little but the teams that never sell out will love this!
    Secondly, to James, not sure what you mean about me “blog skipping” whatever that means but if you are insinuating plagarism you are completely wrong. This was a topic of discussion between me and the person I watch many games with and we both agreed that the shortened season did nothing to hurt the NBA in terms of enjoyment, we didnt feel robbed of any games or anything like that. So if somewhere else happened to write something similar, good for them but this was an original piece that I wrote from scratch, I don’t appreciate you suggesting anything different. As someone who has had his work copied before, I know it is insulting and irritating and I wouldn’t want anyone doing that to me, thus why I wouldn’t do it to anyone else.

  • Coobs

    I think what he was inferring was that it was a “Nick blog” and upon learning this, he “skipped” reading it…but found it necessary to post that he did as such.
    I thought it was a good read, props to you man.
    But in all honesty, I doubt it happens — and it’s exactly for the reason that’s been stated a few times already — revenue. I understand that some teams play in front of 1/10 of a capacity crowd on many nights, but for the teams like the Celtics/Lakers/Bulls/Blazers/Thunder/etc., who sell out seemingly on a nightly basis, I can guarantee that they are not willing to sacrafice $$$ to appease the smaller market/less successfully-run franchises.

  • greenman

    Not even worth talking about. 16 less games is a lot of money not being made. Never will happen.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    Thanks for the comments guys, and yes I agree that it is pretty likely that as long as David Stern is a commissioner we will never see this because he’s all about the bottom line, which is sad because I think this is one of the many improvements the game could use to return the NBA to relevancy outside of the hardcore NBA fans