Every year, the competition committee of the NBA explores the idea of different rules to improve the game. This year, the idea being thrown around the most is the 44 minute game with 4 quarters consisting of 11 minutes each instead of 12.
The first experimental game in which 11 minute quarters were played was between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. The game lasted 1 hour and 58 minutes. In addition to the shortened quarters, two mandatory timeouts that would take place in the 2nd and 4th quarters were eliminated entirely. According to the players and coaches, it was hard to tell it was a shorter game other than at the beginning of each quarter. Which would make sense, because it’s…one…less…minute. Joking aside, there are positives and negatives to both sides of the argument.
Due to the latest rights deal (offering more nationally televised games), shorter games would surely be a better fit for television time slots. It could possibly prevent wear and tear on the star players in the league and would improve the in-game flow. Plus, nobody likes TV timeouts, this proposal would cut two of those. Not to mention, star players would be more involved in a larger percentage of the game, assuming minutes aren’t cut. Less time = more intensity. So, most of this news seems positive, but what are the cons.
The players association would be up in arms. Less game time, means less minutes for bench and role players. I mentioned earlier that it may be possible that there would be less wear and tear on players, but coaches would feel obligated to ride star players knowing that they would have a much bigger impact on a shorter game. Marginalizing a large majority of the league is never good for the league as a whole. It would also affect the way owners think. Owners may feel the need to strictly go after superstars and less over solid role players because their time would ultimately get diminished.
The gripe about the NBA season according to players and coaches is not the time of the games, but the sheer amount of games themselves. With an average team dealing with 20 back-to-back games, you can see why the frustration would be with the amount of games and not necessarily the minutes per game. The league, at this point, is too far gone with the idea of shortening a season that goes for all sports. There’s too much money involved and it’s never something the owners would budge on.
When push comes to shove, I don’t know what to think of the 44 minute experiment. Sure, as a viewer, I don’t care about role players, I care about the stars. But, at the same time, the bench plays a huge part in a championship team. Time will tell and money talks. Something tells me that a 44 minute game isn’t that far away.