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NBA 2017/18: 82-game debate still going strong

Is a shorter season the best way to resolve the issue of resting players in the NBA? Let's look at both sides of the 82-game debate.

Over the past years, the tactic of resting stars in the NBA has been on the rise. Stemming from Gregg Popovich benching stars in a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat, teams see no wrong in letting players rest and recuperate at the expense of the spectacle of an NBA contest.

One of the main reasons they do it is to lessen the injuries that are often the byproduct of heavy schedules and short turnarounds. By letting their stars rest, coaches reduce the wear and tear of the grinding season. Usually, back-to-back games and four games in five nights result in star players rests, especially when the result of the game is of little consequence.

NBA acts

The NBA has tried to solve the problem with some scheduling changes this season. Due to the fall of TV ratings, Adam Silver is looking to encourage teams to play at full strength during nationally televised games. This is because the NBA TV deal comprises a large chunk of the revenue the league gets annually. The NBA needs that revenue to keep growing to, in turn, spur the growth of the sport. Having the most marketable players on the big screen when the world is watching is a key component of that. 

Among the changes are a shorter pre-season, which incentivizes players to work harder in the summer to have the edge coming into training camp where minutes and contracts are won and lost. That also results in a longer regular season, which translates to lesser back-to-back games, less fatigued players and less blatant resting of stars by coaches. 

In spite of the changes, there are still calls for reducing the total amount of games in a season. So, what kind of impact would a season featuring less than 82 games have on the league? 

Impact of a reduced schedule

In the event of a shorter season, records are less likely to change as the lighter schedule would mean lesser opportunities for players to break the marks set across 82 games. Obviously, the individual game records will not be affected, but season tallies will. For one, Russell Westbrook’s recent triple-double record would be very hard to beat. 

TV providers would also be inclined to reduce their expenditure. These companies spend billions of dollars every season for the right to broadcast a prime-time sport and won’t be overly thrilled about getting less air time. By shortening the season, there will be more days where NBA won’t be available meaning less cash flowing to the league. 

An aftereffect of less games and less revenue for the NBA is that the contracts of players will drop. Yet, as we see players continue to get overpaid in the current 82-game format, this might actually be a good thing. In any case, plenty of stakeholders, including owners, would need to be appeased if revenues start to fall.

That highlights the precariousness of the 82-game debate that the NBA is dealing with. Money talks, and a loss of revenue is a serious factor working against a shorter season.

What should the NBA do with the resting problem in the league? Comment below!

NBA tries to address rest problem, still won't shorten season

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Kyle Reiner Pineda

Hey! It's Kyle here! A writer for RealSport  and an avid sports enthusiast. I write articles for the NBA and NFL section of RealSport. A loyal supporter of the Los Angeles Lakers, Carolina Panthers, and Manchester United. For my home country: #LABANPILIPINAS #PUSO

NBA 2017/18: 82-game debate still going strong

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