Yardbarker- Los Angeles Clippers superstar Blake Griffin believes the NBA needs to scale its regular-season schedule back in order to offer “a better product” for the fans.
Speaking with Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Griffin expressed a thoughtful answer to the question of how long the NBA regular season should be.
“Sixty-six, spread over the same amount of time [as the current 82-game season],” Griffin said. “Fatigue and injuries, and better product. If you have less games, less back-to-backs, the product’s better. The fans will appreciate it more. You see those college guys playing so hard, but they play 36 games in the same amount of time we play 82 almost. I just think it would be a better product.”
See, this is a tough debate. As an NBA player that averages well over 40 minutes on a night, Blake Griffin is right. The actual product on the floor at an NBA game would be better if the players had less wear and tear on their bodies. They would be fresher down the stretch. They would be more physically prepared for the grind of playoff basketball.
With that said, while the actual quality of basketball would improve, it is still far more financially responsible for the NBA to continue to play 82 game seasons. You are never going to convince NBA owners that they are better off without 8 games of ticket sales, 8 games of merchandise sales, and 8 games of concessions sales. At the end of the day, the NBA is a business, and the goal is to be as profitable as it can possibly be. The truth is, the people that run the league would probably rather see the season lengthened than shortened. If a player gets hurt because the schedule is too grueling than so be it. Next man up. There's still a game to be played. Still a ticket to be bought. Still a $7 hot dog to eat. Still an overpriced tee shirt that some kid won't be able to live without. You think a money hungry NBA owner is going to cut prices on season tickets? You make the season 66 games and there's not a chance that price point gets lowered. The fan would end up getting less basketball for the same amount of money. That's one way to alienate the fans that ultimately play Blake Griffin's salary. A salary that would undoubtedly get prorated if the season were to be shortened.
The real problem is that no matter how bad the basketball being played is, people are still going to show up. I acknowledge that I might get a better brand of hoops if I only get 33 home games to chose from, but I would rather take my chances on having 41. Even if those 8 games suck, it's still better to be out of the house taking in a live sporting event. Of course fans would rather see the greatest game ever played on hardwood every time they show up, but even if they get to see the worst NBA game ever played, it's still the worst of the best. It's still an experience. There's no such thing as over saturation in terms of sports. Fans want to watch as much as possible. If the Clippers played 150 games a year people would still watch on television or show up at Staples Center. Hey Blake, 'C.R.E.A.M.', ever heard of it? I'm selfish. I want the best possible Blake Griffin on a nightly basis too. However, for $19 million I'll take a half decent one a couple nights a year, as long as you aren't giving me less basketball. If everyone only worked when they thought they could give their best effort the work week would start Tuesday, end Wednesday, and we would all make the same amount of money. 82 work days a year plus playoffs doesn't seem so bad now, does it?