Yesterday in our forums, a brief conversation started about decreasing the number of games in the schedule. While this is obviously biased coming from a Wolves fan due to the health of the team, you have to imagine the quality of play would improve dramatically. Valued forum member Tod Murphy wrote a lengthy assessment of the schedule and how he might fix the problem. Here are his thoughts:
College Wolf: They should play the teams in their division 4 times, and should play the other 26 teams in the league twice each (one home and one away.) That's a nice total of 68 games. Looks pretty perfect to me.
Tod Murphy: I agree, that would be a great 70 Game Schedule!
What do the other dozen games do anyway?
-Spread out throughout the year, they put more wear and tear and injuries on the players before the playoffs. Don't you want the best playoffs possible with your teams as ready to go as you can make it?
-May shift the seeding a little, but with 70 games it is a big enough sample to get teams in the right slots.
-May make a difference in who is the #8 (possibly #7) seeds. But that rarely makes a difference on who the champion is going to be.
-With 82 games, it makes more money for the owners...which means a higher salary cap for the players. Wah...they all could survive. (Actually, I think that games are going to be more important, and your average game attendance would be higher. I know there is a lot more to revenue than that.)
If the last 2 points are that big of a deal to the league, they could do something like Bill Simmons' "Play for 8" Tourney idea between the regular season and playoffs.*
-Top 7 teams in each conference get a few days off.
-The bottom 8 conf. teams are seeded according to their records.
-One-loss elimination, three-round tourney.
-Last team standing in each conference gets the #8 seed in the playoffs.
-C'mon. How fun would this be? Nothing better than stealing a little of the magic that March Madness has! Turn a pretty meaningless #8 seed into something more valuable.
-For the greedy, this = more money!
I would also deal with the draft lottery/tanking issue at the same time as Simmons suggested in this mini-tournament.
-The 8 teams from both conferences that lose the first round get the 9-16 picks in the draft.
-Still do a lottery for the order. I would give them each one ping pong ball with their logo. Hold it on live TV. First ball out gets #9 and so on until the last ball comes out as #16.
-Yes, you could weight those teams as they do now and keep it behind closed doors and just reveal the order later. Personally, I would do it live with one ball each for 2 reasons. Eliminate (or at least decrease!) the stupid conspiracy theories. And stop rewarding ineptitude and tanking.
-This adds definite incentive to win and not lose in the "Play for 8" tourney.
-The 4 teams from both conferences that lose in the 2nd round get the #5-8 draft slots. In the Live Lottery, after the 9-16 picks are chosen, move over to this drum of balls to get this order.
-The 2 teams who lose in the final round not only miss the playoffs, but they get their lottery drum of balls for the #3 and 4 picks.
-The "Play for 8" tourney winners get into the playoffs AND get 1 of the 2 balls in the final drum for the #1 pick.
-Could you imagine how intense each of those games would be in the tourney?!
-Also, all regular season games would be much better because everyone would be fighting to win games so that they wouldn't get the lower, on-the-road seeds for this tourney.
-The only tanking I could see is if a #7 seed would want to roll the dice, lose some end of the season games to go into the "Play for 8" tourney to try to get a top draft pick. But at least if they did this, they would have something to lose by gambling their playoff spot. So it is not tanking (like now where there really aren't consequences for throwing games at the end of the season), but gambling. And who wouldn't want to see a team take this gamble?! That would be a great story line and provide great fan debates! And even if they got one of the top 2 draft picks + the #8 seed in the playoffs, it would also mean that they have to play the #1 instead of the #2 team in the first round of the playoffs. Sometimes that is not a big deal, but other years you would want to avoid the #1 seed if you are serious about the playoffs.
-I love anything with competition and incentive. It makes the quality that much better. In this case, the regular season and playoffs would be better. And it would be one more thing to force organizations to run themselves better. Papa Glen would have to say, "If we don't figure out how to be a better organization and team, we are not only missing the playoffs year after year, but also stuck in the #9-16 portion of the draft." I would love it if the Wolves had more pressure on them like that. See how long Kahn's ineptitude lasts then!
*credit to Bill Simmons for this idea
So what do you think? Are 82 games a few too many? What would you do? How can you not like an 8th seed play-in?
And 4 games in 5 nights is just freakin absurd, regardless if they are home or road games. And I don't have anywhere near the time to watch all these games so closely together. I'm sure I'm far from the only one.
This is legit conversation. I can't follow it all right now, but I must catch up and become a champion of this new idea and pimp it all over the east coast and midwest.
It'd be interesting to know how revenue of the two mini 8 team playoffs (14 games total) would compare to x-number of regular season games. Seems that you could drop 2 games and keep it even without a problem, maybe 3 or 4.
Think of how much more optimistic things would be here. We'd feel like if everyone is healthy by the last month we'd have a good shot regardless of what happens now.
Yeah it is impossible not to like the 8th seed play-in. There is no discernible reason not to do that. I agree that decreasing the amount of games by 10-15% would make a world of difference in quality of play, allowing younger teams more practice time, fewer injuries, more energy, etc.
But the revenue drop off would probably be way too big for the league to adjust to. There are TV contracts in place, a CBA in place based on set revenues, etc. It would make no difference to the big market teams that sell out anyways in terms of "adding more value" to each game...and these teams are the NBA meal ticket anyways. Sure, ticket prices could be raised by 15% or more to counter this, but they are already exorbitantly high, and the league is struggling more and more competing to some degree with the HDTV era. I'm not sure decreasing the amount of games would raise the "anticipation" unless the NBA were a weekly game like in the NFL.
Regardless, good ideas. That 8th seed play-in would all but eliminate tanking and would be fantastic TV to follow up March Madness.