Changing the NBA Regular Season

In late April, Jason Whitlock posted an interesting article on his blog I do not always agree with Jason Whitlock but his work is always well-reasoned and well-written; that makes his work interesting and thought-provoking. After Steph Curry’s knee injury, Whitlock wrote that this was the demise of the 82-game NBA regular season. His point was that more and more teams would move to follow the Spurs’ model of playing star players in fewer games rendering the regular season games even thinner gruel than many of them are. I do not know if other teams will react that way; but if I were an NBA coach, I would give my top guys a few days off in the middle of the season.

However, what Whitlock did next was not to lament the soon-to-be-dilapidated state of the NBA regular season. Instead he had a bold idea for how to make it all work. You can – and should – read it in its entirety here but I will summarize it anyhow:

    1. Cut the regular season to 70 games; start in mid-October; play a 40-game schedule to end on New Year’s Day.

    2. Top team in the East and Top Team in the West after 40 games play a single game at a neutral site.

    3. Create a mid-season classic tournament among 4 teams and offer $20M to the winning team to split up however the team chooses.

    4. Play the remaining 30 game schedule in a 15-week period. Pay “win-bonuses” for those final 30 games to keep stars involved and to keep teams from tanking.

While I do not subscribe to all of the details here, I do think this is a creative way to look at the problem of boring regular season NBA games and to try to minimize the boredom going forward. Since I read that piece about 3 months ago, I have been trying to come up with some ideas of my own related to this subject. Here is what I came up with:

    1. Cut the regular season from 82 games to 58 games. Each team would play every other team twice on a home-and-home basis. By concentrating the regular season, each game will mean more to each team.

    2. Start in mid-October as Jason suggests and have the 58 games over and done with by Feb 10.

    3. Start the playoffs proximal to Valentine’s Day and make the playoffs double elimination with five and seven game series between teams to determine who moves on and who is eliminated.

I am sure that my idea is imperfect but it is another way of looking at making the regular season a tad more meaningful and increasing the number of playoff games – the ones that are far more interesting to start with – for TV consumption.

Switching gears here, last year there was a short Internet buzz about a high school kid in California who was playing high school football and was 7-feet tall and weighed 450 pounds. People said he was the biggest football player in the world. The buzz died down as the Internet moved on to become fascinated with pictures of kittens and the dating status of various celebrities. Well that young man’s name was John Krahn and he is back in the news.

Krahn graduated from high school last year and received a couple of “walk-on invitations” from Division I football schools and “some Division II offers”. Obviously, I never saw him play; I would suspect from his size that speed would not be one of his great assets. So, instead of giving up football or taking one of the Division II offers, Krahn has enrolled in Georgia Prep Sports Academy in Decatur, GA where he can work on 2 things simultaneously:

    1. He will take advanced high school courses to make himself academically attractive to Division I schools.

    2. He will work with a trainer to get his weight down to about 350 lbs and he will work on his blocking technique(s).

According to reports, he is already down to about 400 lbs and he works out daily with a former NFL defensive end. His routine is to do strength and conditioning work on weekdays and then to take part in a 2-hour “technique training” session every Saturday. If successful, Krahn might land himself a Division I scholarship and still have 4 years of eligibility left instead of going to a school, walking on and using up part of his eligibility getting into football shape and learning the techniques of his craft.

That sounds rather mature and dedicated to me and it does not have a whiff of “entitlement” in it. As I said, I have no idea what this kid’s God-given talents may or may not be. However, if he works at this to the point where he gets a Division I scholarship to play football, I will be rooting for him.

Finally, Dwight Perry had this comment in the Seattle Times recently:

“Jose Altuve, the Astros’ mighty-mite second baseman, is getting his own bobblehead night on Aug. 27.

“Just wondering: Has a guy ever been able to see eye-to-eye with his bobblehead before?”

Question for Dwight Perry … Ever heard of Eddie Gaedel?

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………