Community Shootaround: 72-Game Schedule

For decades, there have been complaints that the NBA’s season is too long. Playing 82 games dilutes the product, critics claim, and lessens the importance of each one. It also creates a marathon atmosphere that presents a high risk of injury and causes players to sometimes seem unmotivated.

People who have wanted to see the league try a shorter schedule are about to get their wish. After the chaos caused last season by the pandemic, the NBA and its players union have agreed to take steps toward a normal timeline by adopting a 72-game schedule that will start December 22.

Details on how those 72 games will be allocated still have to be worked out. The NBA hopes to reduce travel during the upcoming season, so games between teams from the Eastern and Western conferences could be reduced or even eliminated. An All-Star break is still expected in March, although it hasn’t been determined if it will include normal All-Star Weekend activities. A play-in tournament could also be adopted.

If the upcoming season is successful, the league may attempt to keep the shorter schedule, writes Jabari Young of CNBC.

“I would argue, with a leap of faith, that we’ll never see 82 again,” said Tony Ponturo, CEO of Ponturo Management Group, a marketing consulting firm. “It’s going to be better across the board of quality basketball and healthier athletes. You take the (revenue) hit and figure out how to make it up in other ways.”

Young also cites comments from NBA president of operations Byron Spruell, who suggested at the Disney World complex that the league would be open to schedule changes if they result in a better product. Another idea being considered is adopting series schedules, much like Major League Baseball, to make road trips less exhausting.

“Having this experience around being on a campus, with health and safety first – there are a lot of learnings that make you think about,” Spruell said in August. “Is there something in between given where the pandemic might be next season, given the experience we’re seeing from our teams and players in this campus format? Is there something in between that we’ll be able to accomplish, too?”

The obvious concern with a shorter schedule is the lost revenue as each team has five fewer home games. Young cites several ways to make up the difference, including higher ticket prices as games become more scarce, increased revenue from the play-in games and additional sponsorship opportunities.

We want to get your opinion. Do you believe there would be a noticeable difference in the quality of play with a permanent 72-game schedule or would you prefer to see the league continue with its traditional 82-game slate? Please leave your answer in the comments section.

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36 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: 72-Game Schedule

  1. kingcong95

    Only guys like LeBron, Kawhi, CP3 would vote for 72. The others wouldn’t want to take a pay cut.

    • Strike Four

      Really stoked you isolated the 3 most-problematic-to-the-NBA’s-future in the first comment. Great post.

  2. Sillivan

    I want to see 82 games

    NBA needs to modify the CBA agreement
    Find a way not to pay old players such as Chris Paul and Al Horford that kind of money

    • Sillivan

      Let’s say Player A is 34 years old and an average bench player,he is not allowed to sign 100 million contract

      • LordBanana

        Players can sign whatever teams give them, don’t blame players for teams foolishness

      • Curtisrowe

        That’s nuts, players can sign any contract that is offered to them, and owners can offer any contract they want.

    • jump shot

      Football-type contracts… non-guaranteed. You can still SIGN a 4 year/160mil contract, but if a team decides to cut you… contract over.
      Of course, the player’s association ain’t gonna go for that.

    • Strike Four

      Basketball is still not a contact sport not matter how much white 80s players loved to throw elbows, so who cares about soft/hard (again, a totally pulled out of nowhere metric)?

  3. Little_Dunker_45

    Here is a fact for you. Basketball is watched for the stars. A baseball series schedule will never happen. Ever. It won’t it will not. 72 games on the other hand – yes. Better product. Yes. There is a way to make it work without less money and without higher ticket prices…no one is going to have there salary cut. Salaries maybe a bit too high if you ask me…anyway. teams are hamstrung with krazy kontracts. Anyway…be grateful we have basketball at all. People are dying every day. You heard it here, folks…

    • Strike Four

      The product is already the best it’s ever been and the highlight reels are as sick as ever. The “product” is already great, you don’t know what you are talking about, once again.

      Thanks to Steph Curry, the gameplay has sped up to the point where any 90s team would get absolutely destroyed by the worst 2020 team, simply because the speed of the game has changed, and the rate of 3’s has changed. Watch any 90s game, its slow, plodding and at times, really boring. 2020 NBA is almost like an entirely upgraded game.

      • Chief Two Hands

        Guys like Curry would get manhandled in the 90s. Typical blind Warriors homer comment.

      • Little_Dunker_45

        “Best it’s ever been. Thw game cannot get any faster”
        – sent from my windows vista pc with my 56k modem

  4. Reflect

    Who the heck says a basketball season is too long? I literally have never heard anyone make that complaint.

    • seamaholic

      You’ve obviously never watched a Tuesday night back-to-back when the visiting team would rather be self-administering a root canal than play basketball, and by the way sit their superstar whom half the crowd paid out serious cash to see before the season started. Obviously.

      Season’s way the f**k too long. I’d go lower than 72 myself. Ban back-to-backs altogether.

  5. x%sure

    NO… 72 games would not make a difference in the product except to reduce revenue and most players would not want that.

    I did advocate for two seasons of 72 games last spring but dragging things out was apparently viewed as healthier.

  6. jump shot

    We’ve known for most of our lifetimes that it’s an 82 game regular season. If that’s too many, choose a different career path.
    If it’s cut to 72 games, the serial load management guys will only play 60.

  7. Simmons>Russ

    If your reducing games to 72 per season then you have to have fines for load management.

    I don’t like load management but I totally understand it. If your a top 10 player on a top team then I understand you want to have more rest of your not needed that way your fitter and fresher for the playoffs.

    So instead they should force fines, if you miss 10% of your teams games then you lose 10% of your salary. So for example if Kawhi Leonard sits out 7 games he loses about 3 mil. If he was to sit out 14 games he loses 6mil.

    This would be a great common ground. Players want less games and what they do now is load manage. If the NBA reduces the amount of games then that should reduce the need to load manage. If players shoes they need more rest then they get fined accordingly.

    • Strike Four

      That is a great idea. Load management itself is fine (think 30+ superstars on playoff teams who have already clinched), but going overboard with it (Kawhi) is where the game suffers.

      I have no problem with Leonard missing long periods of time, but fans pay to watch him, so buying a ticket to watch him play shouldn’t be a risk, and to add on, if you buy a ticket and the designated “superstar” players like Leonard dont play, you should get some money back, or a free ticket to another game.

  8. meksykaniec

    In My opinion even 72 games are too many. There should be no more than 60 meetings. Less injuries, more commitment, higher game quality. It is obvious. I am waiting many years for it to happen.

    • Strike Four

      The game quality is at its highest level its ever been.

      People like you hate fun.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      60 is too big a cut. 25% I think…72 more reasonable, if you ask me

  9. hiflew

    I can see both sides to this issue. 82 games is a tradition and has been for a long time. I can totally understand not wanting to change that. But the NBA is not like MLB. There aren’t any season records that fans constantly talk about. Lots of people know Barry Bonds’ 73 homers and Rickey Henderson’s 130 stolen bases, but how many people know who has the most blocks in a season or steals or assists or points. Basketball is more about single game records and career records. So the push for changing the number of games in a season is not really as big a deal to me as changing the 162 in MLB would be. Personally, I wouldn’t change it, but it’s not a deal breaker to me if it does change.

  10. El Don

    Keep 82!!!
    As a matter of fact I would make it 87 just now, so each team plays 3 times against each other… if they ever expand the league, I would add 3 games x team… cutting down the schedule, never!!!
    As I always say having 4-6 months offseason is the most ridiculous thing ever.
    Play the RS for 8-9 months, playoffs for the same 2 months, then you still have 1-2 months offseason, which is an awful lot of time off. Then you have an extra 2-3 months to play the same amount of games, 82, or bring it up to 87!
    To me as a statistical man, it is very important the number of games, as I like to keep note of players who achieve 2,000 points a season, 1,000 rebounds, 700 assists, 200 blocks, 200 steals, 700FG’s, 200 3’s, 500FT’s & so on… a shorter schedule would make achieving certain landmarks impossible, just would destroy history & tradition. I would hate it so very much!

  11. Appalachian_Outlaw

    Seventy-two is fine for this coming year with the world as it is. Long-term though, keep it at eighty-two. That’s the standard. That’s the tradition. That’s what most records were set in.

    The guys whining about eighty-two being too many often don’t play eighty-two, anyway. Not to mention they’re making money for NOT playing. I’m tired of the league catering to the Leonards and LeBrons of the world. If eighty-two is too much, quit. Go pursue something else.

    • Strike Four

      Kawhi Leonard should have absolutely no say in this, he’d probably prefer a 10 game season

  12. Strike Four

    There’s little to no reason why they cant play 82 starting Dec 22 and start the season after that on November 22.

  13. DynamiteAdams

    I don’t know about yinz but I kinda hate January- February when stars rest randomly and others suffer overuse injuries an 82 games schedule brings. I’d rather have a less amount of games where the players are fresher. Baseball has 162 games and half the time you forget it’s on. Football is popular because teams play basically once a week on the same day (with minor exceptions) making it a big event. I just think if you make it so no team plays more than 3 games a week on less games it would be more watched due to scarcity and improved product.

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