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The NBA season is too long


82 games is a lot of games. That’s how many they play every year in the NBA, and it doesn’t always produce the best results for fans — in fact, it rarely does.

Commissioner Adam Silver is a smart man, so — in spite of what he says — he probably knows this. But the volume of the season is directly related to the bottom line of his business, so it’s unlikely he’ll be modifying the the schedule much.

"I'm not looking to reduce the length of the season," Silver recently said to reporters including Candace Buckner of the Indy Star. "It's no secret, it's an economic issue for the league and the players if we were to cut the number of games in a season and I don't think that's the issue. Frankly, as I travel, people only want more NBA, not less NBA.

"We're going to look at everything but to me, in the first instance, we've got to look at how we can do a better job scheduling within the existing number of dates. Then beyond that, should we be starting a little bit earlier? Can we go a little bit later? Those are also the kinds of things we can look at to try to stretch the season out a little bit."

There’s an old adage that’s generally true, and it definitely is in this case: quality is better than quantity.

This season, the league has seen prolonged injury absences from the likes of Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Chris Bosh, Bradley Beal, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin — all of whom only begin the list.

It’s also seen a playoff race that, save for a spot or two at the bottom of each conference, has largely been over since mid-December. Everyone already knows who’s going to the big dance, as 53 percent of the league does so every year. Plus, many teams don’t take seeding all that seriously — they just want to be sure that they’re in. 

So our season is rife with games that offer little more than a chance to watch squads fine-tune themselves, for when the competition begins in earnest come springtime. Exciting, heart-on-the-sleeve, competitive showdowns are the exception for NBA viewers in this reality, not the rule. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon.

— John Wilmes


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