The pros and cons of a shortened season.
On June 2, during his annual pre-finals press conference, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver brought up the topic of potentially shortening the length of the league’s current 82-game regular season.
“It’s something we have been talking a lot about the last few years,” Silver said. “I’m not against potentially changing the format of the season, possibly even shortening it a bit, if we can demonstrate that’s going to have a direct impact on injuries.”
Since then, every podcast and sports talk show imaginable has discussed the topic at length. And like many other league format issues, there is a generational divide.
.@jj_redick revisits the conversation of a potential shortened NBA season.
“The reality is the wear and tear on our bodies is very different than it was 20-30 years ago and that’s a fact.” pic.twitter.com/QKLTtFq92i
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 7, 2022
One of the main points for shortening the season is the health benefits it would provide for players. Many people think a shortened campaign will not only decrease the amount of late-season injuries, but also lower the number of games players sit out for load management. Players in the modern era are stronger and more athletic than ever, which has both positive and negative effects on their bodies.
For the opposition, a valid point commonly made is that players have endured an 82-game season since the late 1960s, and that the ability to play at a high level over that span is part of what separates the elite from the inferior.
Richard Jefferson’s 2 min. rant on shortening the NBA season
“Professional sports is not good on your body. It’s supposed to separate the people that can do it from the people that can’t do it… Part of greatness is longevity… I think this is a joke.”
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 3, 2022
For reference, Michael Jordan played at least 80 games in 11 of his 15 seasons in the league. LeBron James has only hit 80 games in three of his 19 seasons in the league. The modern league is different.
But if the season were to get shortened, how would it directly affect the Kings?
As things stand right now, a shortened season could have a negative impact on the Kings and other struggling teams. Sacramento is a team that has to grind during the regular season and does not have the luxury of being able to take games off. Every game matters when you’re on the eve of breaking the threshold of the postseason. If the season gets cut to 70 games for example, that gives the Kings 12 fewer opportunities to make up for any losing streaks they may have endured earlier in the season.
On the other hand, having fewer games may change some of the players’ mentality. It could force them to play harder knowing they do not have as many chances to make up for their losses. Having a shortened season may also increase the Kings’ odds of making the playoffs if they begin the season playing very well. For example, let’s say the season is shortened by 20 games and the Kings start the season with a record of 20-11 before the All-Star break. They would then be in the position to simply maintain their level of play instead of having ramp things up for a last-ditch effort to force their way into the postseason, with other teams having far fewer games to close the gap.
But while there are numerous arguments for both sides of this debate, it is very likely the 82-game season will be a thing of the past sooner than later. The idea of a shortened season has been a topic of discussion for over a decade, and in the modern NBA, players have more power than ever before. So from an outside perspective, it seems as though the players want a change to happen, and recent trends make it seem likely they will get what they want. So the real question shouldn’t be whether the season will get shortened. It’s about how many games will get taken away.
Do you think a shorter schedule would help the Kings? Hurt them? Vote, and let us know what you think and why in the comments below!