The NBA will be using Sunday’s preseason contest between the Nets and the Celtics to experiment with a 44-minute game, in what is a creative attempt at potentially lessening the wear and tear on players over the course of the regular season.
But we all know what the real issue is.
The 82-game regular season is simply too long, but any legitimate talk of shortening it stops before it gets started because of how the loss of revenue would affect the team owners.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said as much, when asked to give his thoughts on the 44-minute game idea the league is set to try.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of how long the game is,” Spoelstra said. “I think there’s too many games, to be frank. I think if there’s some way to find a way to cut out some of the back-to-backs so there aren’t 20-plus of them. I think that’s the bigger issue, not shaving off four minutes in a particular game. But I’m open to seeing what happens with that.”
The back-to-back sets put teams at a competitive disadvantage, as do stretches of four games in five nights. Fans paying to see those games are getting a diluted product, and aren’t truly seeing the game’s best athletes competing at their highest levels when they’re forced into these situations.
Reducing the number of regular season games to whatever would eliminate those scenarios entirely would be best for the players and fans alike. But in absence of the owners suddenly being open to losing the money associated with doing that, the league appears willing to try and find alternative ways that could help to potentially lessen the load on its players.