If some ego-destroying miracle were to happen and the lockout ended this week, the league would be pushing for the season to start on December 15th for a 72-game season. The regular season would end a week later than usual, thus pushing the end of the playoffs a week later as well. If more rest time is given for the playoffs, then the Finals could end even later. On the conservative end, we would be looking at the NBA Finals scheduled through the 3rd week of June.
Now on paper, I’d love to see 72 games played + a full set of playoffs that takes me later into the summer and helps me avoid watching the Indians and/or the Nationals strive for mediocrity. Plus after all the waiting, boredom, and stress we basketball fans had to endure during the lockout, it’d be fantastic if the impact on the season’s length was minimal.
However, a 72-game season starting in mid-December is a TERRIBLE idea. Today is November 14th. If the season were to start December 15th, that would mean the league has 31 days to do 1) Free Agency, 2) training camp, and 3) pre-season. Then they’d have to start playing meaningful games. Games that affect playoff and draft positioning. Back to back to back games that would tire starters out to the point where all those people that prefer college basketball to the NBA would be able to point to games being played without defense and say “Hey look! NBA players don’t play defense!” And they’d be right (OH THE HUMANITY)! Because who in their right mind, with being as tired as they would be, wouldn’t save some energy on a jog back downcourt? Kurt Helin said it best:
What we saw in 1999 was guys who got tired and it showed more on the defensive end. Basically, things got sloppy. This is a longer version of that so expect more guys missing games with minor injuries, and expect some stretches of play where coaches will want to burn the tape (if they still used tape).
Starting a season too quickly after a lockout also means that players that normally would have been in the care of arguably the world’s best physical trainers are coming back to play without being fully recovered from the past season. Just ask Chris Cooley, an athlete whose sport also underwent a lockout this past year:
I feel 100 percent that I’m a casualty for the season of the lockout… I think it was a shame that they didn’t let players who had surgery spend time with the doctors and trainers they trust on daily basis, I wish I could’ve.
A similar season-condensing mistake was made because of the 1999 lockout, andÂ asterisk-loving criticsÂ everywhere don’t give that season and its accolades due credit. Oh, and lets not forget that extending the playoffs later into June reduces the amount of training time that USA Basketball gets before the London Olympics begin on July 27th.
As much as it pains me to say it, this is too much basketball over too few months.Â I prefer quality over quantity. I like getting bang for my buck. I’m a reasonable man.Â Get off my case.