Resting star players in NBA regular season games seems to be a huge problem the league is having, especially for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Silver referred to it as “an extremely significant issue for the league” Silver is going to meet with the owners to try and come up with a solution. The topic was broached after the Cavs and Warriors, benched their star players a few times. Golden State benched Green, Curry, Thompson, and Iguodala against the Spurs, a televised game, which they lost. Coach Steve Kerr said they were tired especially during their particularly grueling stretch, which it was. Both LeBron and Kyrie Irving have missed multiple games this season due to rest, most recently a prime-time game Saturday night against the Clippers, a game in which they got smacked. So the question is what does the NBA do?
After hearing some criticism from older players as well as the media, LeBron James has a hot take on it. He said “I don’t understand why it’s becoming a problem now because I started to sit out a couple games? It is the case. It’s absolutely the case,” Also “Listen man, Pop has been doing this 10 years, 12 years, and everyone’s like ‘You know what? That’s the smartest thing Pop has ever done’ Give their guys a couple days off and here we go, five championships.”
There’s definitely some validity to this for sure by Lebron, Pop has been doing this for years with his older players like Duncan, Ginobili, Parker etc. However, Pop usually doesn’t do it when there’s a televised game, although he has before. Silver is more upset with the fact that these were recently televised games and negatively compromised the quality and appeal of the game. Could it also be because of LeBron? Possibly, but not in an offensive way, in my opinion, more that he’s such a star people pay to go to the games and tune in for him. So I think he has a point but is taking it a little too to heart. Although, he did have high praise for Adam Silver before saying this, which I agree with Silver is great.
I also agree it is a valid issue on Silver’s end, the NBA wants to put the best product out there. Both for the customers and for the money (mainly the money if we’re being honest). I know I don’t wanna watch the Clippers take a shit on the Cavs without Lebron and Kyrie. Fuck that, I’m going out, and boozing. Definitely not watching that sad excuse for a game. So the question remains; what does the NBA do?
There’s been a ton of ideas thrown out there. One being to shorten the NBA season. I like this in some ways, the NBA season is too long, but this will decrease the transparency amongst eras. If we have let’s say 65-75 games it will be harder to compare stats from players of different eras. Nobody would break all-time records anymore, aside from maybe curry and the 3pt record. Another idea is to drag the season out an extra one to two weeks, I liked this one too at first. It will help the players get some rest, but still how much more spacing will that give them? Not too much of significance. Plus it will make the already-long NBA season even longer and more painstaking for the NBA fans. Yet, have no fear my fellow friends, I have a solution!
Ok, so how do we solve all these problems, increase the appeal, and better the game? My answer is simple, cut down the number of playoff teams in each conference to six rather than eight. There’s no real reason 7 and 8 seeds should be in, congratulations you were average. In NBA history there have only been five number 8 seeded teams who have upset the one seed, the Nuggets in 94, The Knicks in 99, The Warriors in 07, The Grizzlies in 2011 and The Sixers in 2012.
Now I also know you’re probably thinking, hmm 6 that’s not an even number, though? That could get sticky. But no it won’t, it will actually help solve our problem! In my scenario, the top two seeds from each conference will get a bye. Yup, just like the NFL does, reward the top two teams for being the best in the regular season. This will increase the competition for those top two seeds and help refrain teams from resting their stars.
You may also say but if the Cavs and the Warriors are one seed’s, at two, they still get a bye. While this is true both teams are only 2-2.5 games up on the two seed and the three seed in the east, The Wizards, are just 4 total games back. What this means is that the two, three, four, (anyone in contention) will have increased competition and be more likely to play their starters, further pushing the one seeds. As for the lower half, they’re just fighting for the playoffs.
Now the last question this broaches is what do we do with the 7 and 8 seeds who don’t make the playoffs do they go to the NBA lottery? I would say no, do it just like the NFL does, chalk by the records, for the 15-18 seeds (7 and 8 seeds that would miss under this). The rest of the lottery, 1-14, would remain the same. There’s no reason to add more teams to this lottery who would have such a minuscule chance at getting a decent pick it wouldn’t even make sense.
So that’s the plan; 6 teams from each conference, top two seeds get byes, lottery remains intact. Who wants to watch the Cavs scrap whoever the 8 seed does anyway? That’s not quality basketball. So someone, send this to Adam Silver for me so we can get this show on the road! Let’s make basketball great again. Well, basketball is great but who says we can’t make it better?