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Mark Cuban talks about ‘challenge’ of ratings being down, reaching young viewers

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There is no simple answer, no silver bullet that fixes the fact NBA ratings are down to start the season.

The problem is complex and mostly built around the way younger generations consume media (a situation that is not going away) and the competition in that marketplace. Add on top of that that NBA teams tell fans through their actions they don’t prioritize the regular season — what do you think the message of load management is (even if it’s the right thing to do for player’s health)?  — and it’s not a shock to see ratings being down.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talked about it with Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

Cuban: “We’ve got a challenge in that all of our games, until we start on ABC, are on cable. Which means if you cut the cord, you can’t see any of our games. That’s a challenge.

Q: Some of the reaction that I saw was that some read that as doom and gloom, but that’s not the impression I got from your comments.

Cuban: I don’t see that at all. It’s a challenge. It’s going to be hard to find the equilibrium, but that’s the innovators’ dilemma. Businesses go through that. The technology is changing. Streaming, who knew that it would be a big deal?

We are where we are. Kids, I forget the exact number, but the majority of homes with millennials and younger in the household, they don’t have traditional cable TV. And so the number of options for them to get our games is minimal and that’s going to hurt our ratings because other than MLS, we have the youngest viewing the league.

Q: So what is the workaround?

Cuban: That’s the thing we have to work out with our broadcast partners. Now, if they open it up for streaming, that makes life easier. That’s a big discussion for everybody, though.

It’s worth checking out the entire interview, Cuban talks about his feelings on Adam Silver’s proposals to reshape the regular season (like most around the league he’s not loving the mid-season tournament) and Kristaps Porzingis.

The games on ABC will help, and for casual fans it’s really Christmas when they start to focus more on the NBA (as football slows down). NBA ratings will pick up, and the playoffs are when the broadcast partners make most of their money back anyway.

However, the long-term issues are not going anywhere — for the NBA and all the major American sports — and we need better solutions than a tournament between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.

76ers play 6-on-5 vs. Bulls (video)

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The 76ers found one way to solve their spacing issues.

Philadelphia showed good ball movement, finding Furkan Korkmaz for an open corner 3-pointer. The catch? Korkmaz got open, because the 76ers had six players on the floor.

I love Kyle O'Quinn trying to slink off the court. He wanted to get away with it. Tobias Harris, who jogged to the bench, was practically begging to get caught.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised how quickly the Bulls noticed the violation. It’s not as if their defense scrambling is anything new.

Thirty days after being called ‘day-to-day,’ Karl-Anthony Towns returns to Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns
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Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders called Karl-Anthony Towns “day-to-day” with a left knee sprain.

That was 30 days ago.

Towns finally returned to Minnesota’s lineup, starting against the Pacers tonight.

While out due to his knee, Towns also battled illness. That undoubtedly complicated matters. But the Timberwolves repeatedly calling him “questionable” raises questions about their commitment to transparency. That’s important in an NBA embracing gambling.

Towns’ 17-game absence is a rare dent in his durability. In his first four seasons, Towns missed only five games – two due to a car crash.

Towns is Minnesota’s best player. He could provide a jolt to a team hanging in the playoff race. But, after a strong start, the Timberwolves began to tumble even before Towns went down. They’re probably won’t make the playoffs, though their odds are definitely better with him. At least he returns in time to make an All-Star case.

Knicks’ Marcus Morris after 23-point loss to Suns: ‘We were a better team’

Knicks forward Marcus Morris
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Marcus Morris loathes the Suns.

Unfortunately for him, his Knicks lost to the Suns, 121-98, yesterday.

Morris, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News:

“Kudos to Phoenix, but at the end of the day, we were a better team,” Marcus Morris said postgame. “We should have got that win tonight.”

Nahhh.

The Knicks stink. They’ve lost seven of eight. Morris talked about energy, and New York’s could be better. But this is what happens on losing teams. The Knicks’ roster just isn’t good enough. It’s not more complicated than that.

The Suns aren’t great, either. But they’re much better than New York – no matter how much that grinds Morris.