Could the NBA Shorten Its Season?

For the past few years, load management has become an ever prevalent factor in the NBA, with star players missing games in favor of rests so that when they do play, they’re at their absolute best. The 82-game season the NBA plays is grueling and long, and only five players played in all 82 games last year. With all of this being said, is it worth shortening the season, and could commissioner Adam Silver actually do it?

Harry How/Getty Images

Shortening the season has lots of benefits. For one, every game would hold more value, and thus be an ever larger event then games in previous seasons had been. The season wouldn’t have to be shortened too much — say, to 60 games — for it to make a large difference for the players. Plus, with every game meaning more and less wear and tear on athletes, you’ll see more and more star players in games. Guys like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard would play more games, which means even more money to their teams and the NBA.

Plus, Commissioner Silver is open to the idea and has said it’s something he’s looked at before:

“I also have said in the past, if we have too many games, that’s something we should look at as well. It’s something, as we sit down and we’re looking at new media deals and looking at a new collective bargaining agreement, we will be studying. … From my discussions with players, they recognize it’s an issue, too. The style of the game has changed in terms of the impact on their bodies. I think we’ve got to constantly assess and look at a marketplace going forward and say, what’s the best way to present our product and over how long a season?”

Adam Silver

One of the issues with shortening the season would be that for TV and streaming sponsorships, the NBA would still have to provide enough content. One way for that to happen would be in-season tournaments. The play-in has proved to be successful over the past few years, and has given us some great moments, such as the epic duel between LeBron’s Lakers and Stephen Curry‘s Warriors. Adding more tournaments during the middle of the year would generate more revenue, interest, and give noncompeting players downtime. College teams do this; why shouldn’t the NBA?

“The other way we can get at it, in terms of player participation, is creating other incentives. The play-in tournament, I thought, was a beginning of creating renewed incentives for teams to remain competitive and be fighting for playoff position. It might be through in-season tournaments and changes in format where we can get at it.”

Adam Silver

The NBA board of governors recently discussed adding in-season tournaments a few days ago, as well as a new kind of foul for fast breaks known as the “take foul.” According to Shams Charania,

This is certainly gaining momentum and approval from all corners of the NBA world, and while it may be another season before we see this implemented, it’s a very exciting prospect. This would be a great win for the NBA and its fans, as there would be more high stakes games, and more rest for the players.

What do you think of shortening the season and adding in-season tournaments? Let everyone know in the comments.

Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!



One thought on “Could the NBA Shorten Its Season?

  1. I agree with you, the number of games played in a season should absolutely be reduced. With only five players making it through the entire season without missing a game is proof that 82 games is simply too much wear and tear on their bodies. The big question is how teams would adjust compensation paid to players reflecting the shorter season. I know that players would expect the same salaries, but teams would see their revenues drop from TV, Streaming, attendance, parking fees, concession income, etc. If the main objective is to protect the health of players, another option could be is to extend the season with fewer back-to-back games played in a week. The added rest could be used to rehab injuries and provide additional conditioning. I’ve always been a proponent of bonus money paid to players based on meeting certain performance criteria. This could be used to compensate for reduced salaries resulting from the shorter season.

    Liked by 1 person

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