Before the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors played on national television on March 11th, Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced the resting of his star players Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Spurs coach, Greg Popovich, followed suit shortly after to announce his players would also be resting.
Kerr cited his player’s health for the playoffs as the reasoning behind the rest; he also proposed a shorter schedule in order to avoid the need to rest players during the season.
In order to help ease into a transition process of reducing the schedule, Kerr claimed he would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant his players would get extra rest throughout the season.
“I think even just going down to 75 games, I think that would make a dramatic difference in schedule. Now I don’t see that happening because there is money at stake for everybody,” said Kerr. –via. ChicagoTribune.com
Kerr believes the NBA schedule should be reduced for two reasons: it would help ease some of the traveling burdens and would eliminated the need for four games in five nights, a formula that leads to a higher risk of player injury.
“We’ll come as close as we can to eliminating the four-in-five formula. We think we can make a dramatic reduction,” Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, said, via ESPN.com. “We hear everyone loud and clearly. It’s a function of number of days in the schedule.”
While the physical grind of back-to-back and heavy loaded schedules has been well documented, the mental aspect of the game does not receive the same spotlight.
Larry Sanders is the perfect example of the NBA’s mental toll.
Sanders suffered from an anxiety disorder that required him, when the anxiety flared to a breaking point, to spend hours alone in order to fully recover. However, being on a bus or a plane loaded with teammates and coaches, isolation is nearly impossible to find.
Sanders quit the NBA in 2015 in order to focus on his mental health.
While a reduced schedule could be beneficial for player’s physical and mental rest, the financial may be too much for Commissioner Silver to swallow.
The NBA is a multibillion dollar company, who get the vast majority of its revenue from TV deals. A shorter schedule would mean less games to broadcast, and would mean a less profit.
However, that is not necessarily the case. With coaches like Kerr and Popovich resting their star players on nationally televised games, advertisers will have less incentive to sponsors games because viewership is lower when the stars sit.
With a reduced schedule, coaches will not have the same motives for giving their players rest. So, while there might be less games overall, the games that are played will generate more revenue.
In March, Steve Kerr proposed the NBA reduce its schedule.