After a plethora of mid-season injuries have taken multiple high profile players out for significant periods of time, we need to talk about the length and brutality of the NBA season.
The season right now is extensive as it is: 82 games, consisting of multiple back-to-backs, four-game weeks, and spanning about 6 months. Granted, they have a break for all-star weekend, but these stats don’t even include playoffs, which could add as many as 28 games and two months to their season.
Imagine playing 110 games of basketball over seven and a half months. Seems fun from a fans perspective, but it isn’t when you consider how much the pros put into each game, playing full throttle every night, and then getting dragged by the media and spectators for resting a couple of games. Frankly, this sounds impossible to me.
The true loftiness of this task has become increasingly evident as this season continues. Beginning as early as November, numerous players were going down with injuries that required long recoveries. Every week another superstar was in the news for an injury.
Many of these injuries would keep the athletes out for two months or even seasons in some cases. Kristaps Porzingis, Dion Waiters, Demarcus Cousins, Reggie Jackson, John Wall, Kevin Love, and Jimmy Butler are just a few who were taken out for either the season or at least 6 weeks, delivering sucker punches to their teams.
Although receiving complaints about the length of the season, the league has taken minimal steps to shorten it. Many people like to point out that in the old days the players didn’t complain about the length of the season or rest games. But that opinion is invalid because players run exponentially more throughout the game nowadays.
According to NBA.com, the median number of feet run by a team per game is 4,000 higher this season than it was just 4 years ago. The game of basketball is getting faster and there is more running, which clearly puts a much greater toll on the players.
Probably the easiest but most controversial option for making the season more tolerable is to change the number of games to 70, shortening the season by 12 games. By doing this, they could, in turn, spread the games out more. A viable solution, but the NBA would lose money, so sadly they would never do it.