Last year at this time the NBA season was just getting started. Because of a labor dispute between the owners and players, the regular season began on Christmas. There were many, and some still agree, the Christmas would be a good time to start every NBA season. Many feel 82 games is too many. College teams play about 27-30 regular season games, so the pros are playing nearly three times as many. Compare the to football where college teams play 12 games to 16 for the pros, and you can see where the logic is from.
Here is the problem though. Look at what we would have missed if the MBA was just getting started. We would have missed all the Los Angeles Lakers drama. There would have been no 0-8 preseason, no 1-4 start that resulted in Mike Brown‘s firing, no Steve Nash injury causing the Lakers to slump to a 15-15 start. The Lakers would be right where they are now, only they wouldn’t be trailing the Clippers by nine games in the Pacific Division.
We would have missed the torrid start of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the west and the New York Knicks in the East. We would have missed James Harden starting over in Houston and tearing it up while bringing along the young Rockets into a playoff contender. We would have missed Jeremy Lin return to New York and lead the Rockets to a win over the Knicks, the Knicks firs loss of the season at home.
We would have missed the Orlando Magic going to Los Angeles and beating Dwight Howard and the Lakers and then missed Howard’s temper tantrum in the post game press conference.
We would have missed a great start by the Golden State Warriors and the emergence of Stephen Curry and David Lee as a very good one-two punch in the Pacific Division.
We would have missed many great games from Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant. We would have missed The Charlotte Bobcats 18 game losing streak. We would have missed the Clippers 17 game win streak.
There is no way you can look at what has happened so far in the season and say nothing has happened. Would a shorter NBA season really be a good thing? I understand the argument that most people are following football right now. But the sports fan can do both. It’s not that difficult. NFL is a one day a week sport anyway. That leaves the rest of the week to watch hoops.
There are some that say a shorter regular season would mean fewer wear and tear on the players and therefore longer careers and also fresher players for the playoffs. If you want fresher players for the playoffs, the best solution for that is to cut down on the travel. In baseball, they play twice as many games as in basketball, but probably take fewer flights. That is because in baseball you travel to a city and you play three or four games, then leave town. So even on a road trip, you travel twice a week.
In the NBA you might have to fly to a different city four nights in a week. Is it any wonder Greg Popovich is sending older players home early to rest up? What the NBA should do is have two game series when team from the same conference play each other.Instead of a back to back between the Jazz and Nuggets where they play in Denver one night and Utah the next, let them play both times in Denver.
But if you start screwing around with the number of games, then you skew records, both team and individual. It will be impossible to compare players from a shortened season era to guys who played 82 games. The 82 game schedule has worked well for a long time now. There is no good reason to change it.