Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins is about as old school as they come. Which means you knew he wasn’t going to be on board with shortening games — even though his team is taking part in the 44-minute game experiment on Sunday — or even reducing the number of games from 82, as LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and other players have called for.
That said, Hollins has issues with the travel.
The former NBA All-Star player turned coach says the road travel schedules in the NBA are what need to be changed, as quoted by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“There are so many more back-to-backs and in-and-out travel, which wears on a player as much as playing 82 games,” Hollins said a day after taking a 14-hour flight from China. “I don’t see 82 games being changed. At least in my lifetime.”
Deron Williams was on board with his coach.
“A lot of back-to-backs, four games in five nights. Those things are tough,” (Williams) said. “They’re tough on your body.”
The Nets will play 19 back-to-backs this season, overall back-to-backs and four-in-fives are up this season (a byproduct of giving the players a week off around the All-Star break without lengthening the season).
It is that travel that is why I would be in favor of the NBA reducing the schedule by 10 games per team. Do that but keep the season at or close to the current length and you cut out some of that travel. Teams are demonstrably worse on the second nights of back-to-backs, guys don’t get enough sleep and tired minds and bodies make them more likely to be injured. Simply put, for the quality of the product, I think it would be better to have fewer games.
It’s also never going to happen because there’s too much money on the table.
That doesn’t make Hollins any less right.