The NBA announced on Tuesday morning that they would test a 44-minute preseason game on Sunday when the Boston Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets.
The idea wasn’t met with rave reviews from the Blazers.
“I like the fact that the NBA is always looking to improve the game,” prefaced coach Terry Stotts before getting to his feelings about the idea itself. “I’m not necessarily sold on a 44-minute game. Historically, it’s always been a 48-minute game. You’ve got a large roster.”
Players, particularly reserves, say they are at risk of becoming less valuable. CJ McCollum started the other night, but is fighting for a reserve spot on this year’s Blazers team. He thinks it will squeeze the players.
“As of right now I hate it as a guy that comes off the bench. That just diminishes my role even more,” McCollum said. “Obviously teams look to play their starters as much as possible and if you shorten the time, which means the less minutes reserves play, which means they are less valuable, which means we will get paid less, and pretty soon we’ll be out the league.”
Some have noticed that the NBA’s “middle class” has gotten squeezed because of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with contracts only ranging from the large to the small with fewer existing in the middle.
McCollum’s argument was also something voiced by other players across the league. Unintentionally or not, it would be along the same lines of squeezing the NBA’s journeymen and role players, but this time regarding on the court, not the contracts.
“My first thought is I don’t necessarily like it,” said Steve Blake, the Blazers guard and 11-year veteran. “The game has been the way its been for a little while now, it’s what I know. I don’t see why you would change the minutes. I’m not sure what that’s really going to do.”
Such a change could make basketball more like soccer in timing, fitting in under 2 hours most games.
“Two hundred forty minutes of playing time is already a little short,” said Stotts, referring to the total number of minutes played by a team in a regulation game if you added the minutes played by each individual player. “I’m old school, I like 48 minute games but I’m glad they are taking a look at it.”
The league is looking to gauge its impact on the flow of the game. At least some Blazers, who are in the positions that would be most affected, see that if the league likes the flow, it could go on without them.