C.J. McCollum: ‘I hate’ 44-minute game

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The NBA’s plan to experiment with a 44-minute game hasn’t met much resistance.

Sure, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Erik Spoelstra said the focus should be on the number of games, not their length. But none of the three categorically dismissed a 44-minute game.

Michael Jordan endorsed a 48-minute game, because get off my lawn. That’s not a helpful argument, though.

The idea of a 44-minute game was met with something between a shoulder shrug and finger pointed at the real issue.

Except to Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum.

You probably won’t find someone a player vocally opposed to 44-minute games.

McCollum, via Peter Socotch of CSN Northwest:

“As of right now I hate it,” he said. “I’m a guy who comes off the bench. That’s just diminishing our role even more. Teams look to play their starters as much as possible. The shorter the game, obviously, it’s more the starters play, which means it’s less that the reserves play, which means we’re less valuable, which means we get paid less, pretty soon we’ll be out of the league. So I’m not in favor of it.”

“When you’re a starter, you play “x” amount of minutes, so you’re going to get paid regardless.”

McCollum makes a good point. Even though games would be eight percent shorter, teams won’t cut everyone’s minutes by eight percent. They’ll keep their starters at the same level and reduce the reserves’ playing time.

That means bench players are less important, which means the gap between their pay and the starters’ will rise.

You can see why McCollum, a fringe rotation player depending on the team he were on, wouldn’t like that. You can see why a lot of players wouldn’t like that.

There are more reserves than starters in the NBA, something the National Basketball Players Association should keep in mind as the league considers altering its game length. (If I thought the NBA were devious, I might wonder whether a 44-minute game was proposed with the intent of dividing the union as the impending 2017 lockout/strike approaches.)