The NBA Will Experiment With Shorter Game Times

Nets, Celtics to Play a 44-minute Preseason Game

Earlier this month, we heard that the NBA was considering altering their free throw protocol in order shave time off games. Now, they’re taking a more direct route to brevity.

When the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics face off on Sunday, October 19 (a preseason game), the bout’s duration will be just 44 minutes, not 48. The league’s president of basketball operations, Rod Thorn, had this to say about the decision, per USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt: “We have looked at everything that we do and are taking a fresh look at all the different things we do. One of the things that keeps coming up is our schedule and the length of our games... Our coaches talked about it, and a lot of them seemed to be in favor of at least taking a look at it. We talked with our competition committee, and they were in favor of taking a look at it... Let's get some empirical evidence regarding this and take a fresh look at it.”

The biggest flaw in the NBA’s product has been, for some time, its volume. There’s too much of it. The 82-game season is a beleaguered yawn at times, and fans are often right to turn their attention elsewhere until the playoffs begin and teams are finally in the pressure cooker of do-or-die expectations. That’s when the real drama begins.

But the season probably won’t shorten anytime soon. There’s simply too much money in all that TV time. The next best thing the league can do to make their brand snappier, though, is to condense the game, and that seems to be a priority for progressive new commissioner Adam Silver. 

And 48 minutes is an aberration, anyway: Every other major basketball league across the globe plays the game for 40 minutes or less. It seems like only a matter of time before the NBA comes closer to that figure.

 

— John Wilmes

@johnwilmesNBA

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