On Wednesday, the league released the official team schedules for the 2015/16 NBA season. Some of the more notable changes for this season are that the NBA was able to cut the average amount of back-to-backs per team from 19.3 last season to 17.8 for 2015/16, and reduced the amount of four games in five days teams will play from 2.3 in 2014/15 to .9 this coming season, as well as cut down the distance each team will be required to travel by 2%. These alterations were done with the hope that they would reduce wear-and-tear on the players, as well as to improve the overall product on the court by keeping the players fresher.
One debate that seems to rear its head every year regards the overall length of the regular season. NBA teams began playing 80 games each beginning way back in the day during the 1961/62 campaign. The league then bumped that number up to 81 for the 1966/67 season, courtesy of expansion, and finally settled on the current 82 game format the following year. While the team owners certainly benefit financially from playing more games courtesy of TV contracts, gate receipts, and of course, concession sales, one can argue that the longer season creates less meaningful games, as well as increases the injury risk for all of the players involved.
So here’s the topic of the day: Is the current 82 game regular season schedule too long? If so, what changes should be made to improve the quality of the game?
There have been suggestions made by members of the league and the media to decrease the overall game count to 76, which could help reduce the amount of late season contests where star players are resting up for the playoffs. After all, with how expensive it can be nowadays to attend an NBA event, shouldn’t fans be able to see the best players on the court for their hard-earned cash? A more radical suggestion, made by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz a few years ago, called for paring down the amount of games to 44. Under that plan, teams would play just twice a week, one game midweek, and the other on the weekend. While that big of a reduction is highly unlikely given the amount of revenue it would cost the league, it would also likely create some seriously contentious CBA meetings, which would be needed to ratify such a change, since there would be salary cap and pay scale adjustments needed to accompany such a significant alteration.
What are your thoughts on the current season length? If you believe a change needs to be made, then how many games should teams play each campaign? Are there any other changes, such as length of the preseason, playoff series, All-Star break duration, that you think would help improve the NBA? Take to the comments section below to chime in. We look forward to what you have to say.
Note: Since these Shootarounds are meant to be guided by you the reader, we certainly welcome your input on the topics we present. If there is something you’d like to see pop up here for a discussion, shoot me a message at email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter at @EddieScarito to submit topics or ideas for what we should present in future posts.