Appearing on a panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin suggested that the NBA should be starting and ending its season two months later, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes.
Rather than starting in mid-October, the regular season would begin in mid-December under Koonin’s proposal, resulting in less overlap between the NBA and NFL seasons. The NBA Finals would then take place in August instead of June, increasing the amount of time that MLB regular season games represent the NBA’s only competition among the four major sports.
“A big piece is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to enhance ratings,” Koonin said in explaining his idea. “Sometimes, moving away from competition is a great way to grow ratings. If King Kong is at your door, you might go out the back door, rather than go out the front and engage in a hand-to-hand fight with King Kong.
“Many times, at the start of the NBA season, we are competing with arguably the best Thursday Night Football game with the NBA on TNT, our marquee broadcast, and we get crushed and we wonder why. It’s because at the beginning of the season, there’s very little relevance for the NBA. The relevance is now. That’s when people are talking about it.”
Although that would be a major change to the NBA calendar, the league isn’t opposed to considering the idea, as NBA senior VP of strategy and analytics Evan Wasch confirmed, per Bontemps: “We certainly have no issue with reconsidering the calendar. … We’re open to that … there’s no magic to [the season going from] October to June.”
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The Chinese Basketball Association, which has been on hiatus to the coronavirus, is expected to resume play on April 6, with games initially taking place behind closed doors, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- The NBA announced in a press release on Sunday that Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and Kings center Alex Len have been fined $20K and $15K respectively for their roles in an on-court shoving match on Saturday (video link).
- In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Bill Shea takes an in-depth look at how Forbes’ annual NBA franchise valuations are determined and how accurate they are.
- Although Zion Williamson and Ja Morant already look like stars and Brandon Clarke might be the steal of the first round, most of the rest of the 2019 draft class has been underwhelming so far. John Hollinger of The Athletic identifies a few players who may be good bets to help salvage it, including Coby White, Cody Martin, and Cam Reddish.