NBA may cut preseason games to spread regular-season schedule out
In an attempt to lessen the wear and tear of an 82-game schedule, the NBA is discussing extending the regular season by shortening the preseason.
The NBA wants to reduce the rigors of the regular season and has surveyed teams to determine if spreading out the 82-game schedule by cutting into the preseason would be beneficial, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe.
The league is open to cutting half of the preseason, which would take away a couple back-to-backs for each team and extend the regular season by 10 days. Lengthening the All-Star break is another way the NBA believes it can keep an 82-game schedule — and the money generated from those games — while helping reduce the wear on its players.
How the NBA navigates any changes remains to be seen for several reasons. The most obviously hurdle: Cutting the preseason limits how much time teams have to put their plan in place before games count.
Any change wouldn’t occur until the 2016-17 season at the earliest, reports Lowe.
This year, the Detroit Pistons lead the league with 22 back-to-backs, and the Miami Heat have the fewest, with 16. A number of studies have confirmed the negative effects that back-to-backs have on teams, and even this season alone, it’s clear that fatigue has gotten the best of some squads. Bright Side of the Suns’ Dave King took a peek at the Phoenix Suns‘ amount of rest compared to their opponents and how they fared, and as expected, the Suns have struggled when they have less rest than their opponents. Phoenix is 1-3 in its last four games, which were packed into five nights across four cities. The Suns’ last game was a 103-97 loss to the Heat that saw them flounder down the stretch.
“We were just a step slow, whether it was the fourth game in five nights, we just weren’t thinking straight,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Tonight I think it was just tiredness. We ran the wrong things about four straight times. I don’t know what to do about that.”
While every team has to deal with similar scheduling difficulties, cutting down on them certainly won’t draw complaints.