Among my many problems with the National Basketball Association is the length of the season. The definition of ‘grueling’ in some countries is viewed as ‘eighty-two games of basketball spread out over five and a half months.’ I would be mailing in games too if my playoff position was relatively known and we were playing game fifty-seven on the road in Toronto.
Not only do the players legitimately not care, most casual fans don’t even know what the hell is going on around the midpoint of the season. If you asked me the Cavs’ record right now, I would just shrug my shoulders and reply “they’re in good position to make the playoffs.” That’s probably how the players feel, too. So here are a couple of alternatives that my naïve mind has come up with to fixing this problem in the NBA:
1. Cut the season down to around sixty games.
2. Cut the amount of playoff teams down to six per conference.
3. Do both. I can’t decide if this would be a good idea or not yet.
At risk of looking like an idiot for going out of order, I’ll start with #2. Can you imagine the chaos that would be going on in the West if only six teams could make the playoffs? Every team would have to play their ass off in every game to keep their playoff hopes alive. That’s pretty much the only reason it would be a good idea, because it would maintain the grueling level of the length of the season.
That said, I like option #1 the best. This would probably bring the length of the season down to about 4 months. With that few games, players have to legitimately worry about every game coming into play regarding their playoff hopes. Why do you think the NFL works so well? Every game matters, there’s only one per week, so there’s a better chance that that particular game will affect your teams’ playoff hopes and/or seed. If someone at any point during the NFL season asked me what the Browns’ record was, I would immediately rattle it off, because it matters week in and week out what happens. Also, this gives those bottom-of-the-barrel-lottery-teams less time to realize that they’re horrendous and that they need to start tanking to improve their lottery ball status.
So next time someone asks you what your NBA team’s record is, just tell them you’re waiting for the playoffs to start because the regular season is pretty, pretty, pretty bad.
(DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know that this would never fly because the owners would shit a brick over the lost ticket sales)