The NBA will be testing the idea of a 44-minute game this Sunday in Brooklyn, where the Nets will face the Celtics in a preseason exhibition contest.
The idea is to lessen the load on the league’s players, without sacrificing the revenue that shortening the season by eliminating games would cost.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra knows that the length of the season is the real issue here, but he at least seemed open to trying a shorter game to see what happens. Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, however, seems to have already decided that the 44-minute concept isn’t something he’s interested in.
“Personally, I don’t really like it,” Vogel told reporters.
Vogel impression is that there are a handful of reasons the league is looking into, and TV, in trying to fit games in specific time slots, is a key part of that.
“I don’t have enough minutes to get all my guys enough minutes to keep them happy,” he said. “You’re going to take away four a game, that’s going to make my job harder.”
While he may have been joking to a certain extent, Vogel brings up what could very well be an unintended consequence of making games shorter.
The star players on teams, when healthy, are used to carrying extended work loads. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden, for example, were in the top six in minutes played per game last season, and if coaches feel like those numbers are at a reasonable threshold, there’s no reason to dial that back to give more run to the reserves.
Things could unfold exactly as Vogel mentions, with bench guys clamoring for fewer available minutes. But the reality is that we have no idea how this would really impact the games on a long-term basis, and one look at it during the exhibition season isn’t going to tell us.
This is merely a creative attempt at a solution, though the true effects of something like this aren’t likely to be known without having a much larger set of data to analyze.