Resting the stars on National TV

joe dokes

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OK, so "too fucking bad.......until you do something about it."

And then the coaches start the stars and rest them during the game. They going to legislate minimum minute-counts for "stars," too? Do people think Lue sat them all to stick it to the man? Does it apply to the Nets, or only "good" teams.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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OK, so "too fucking bad.......until you do something about it."

And then the coaches start the stars and rest them during the game. They going to legislate minimum minute-counts for "stars," too? Do people think Lue sat them all to stick it to the man? Does it apply to the Nets, or only "good" teams.
I think this is the biggest problem. How do you determine whether a player is a "star" or not and mandate that? I'm personally against restricting rest days. As an NBA fan I want the absolute best product on the court for the playoffs and if that takes rest days so be it.
 

smastroyin

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I think the problem is that the most doldrums part of the NBA season (post ASB) takes place just as the NCAA's are going so the contrast in excitement is huge. I don't even like the college game but there is a drastic difference in intensity and when the "stars league" has no stars it is even worse.

The real question is whether the networks respond by bidding less.
 

GreenMonster49

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I understand the economic realities of the TV contract make this infeasible but moving to a 62 game schedule would solve the 'star players getting rest' issue.
What about more feasible solutions? The next two involve shortening the regular season to the length it was in the late 1950s.

We could have a 74-game schedule (2x15 against the other conference, 2x10 against the other divisions in the conference, 6x4 against division opponents). 30+20+24 = 74; balanced home and away, but reduces games played against opponents in the same conference but the other divisions.

Or a 76-game schedule, which moves some opponents from 4 games a season to 3 (2x15 against the other conference, 3x10 against the other divisions in the conference, 4x4 against division opponents). 30+30+16 = 76.

Finally, we could keep the 82-game schedule because the current economics demand it, but reduce the wear and tear of travel. (2x15 against the other conference; 3x8 against the 8 of the teams in other divisions in the conference, 2x2 against the other 2 teams; 6x4 against division opponents.) 30+24+4+24=82. We add 8 games against division opponents, who are closer, and take 1 game against 8 of the other teams in the conference.
 

ifmanis5

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If you're an owner, or The Commish, or a network here is your nightmare scenario- Toyota, Verizon and American Airlines are on the phone and they want to know why they bought a :30 second TV spot for $350,000 but the audience they were expecting is half that so they want 50% of their money back and they want it back right now. That can't continue or all your sponsors walk and your league is dead.
 

bosox79

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The problem with rotating players when you sit them is you are now sacrificing more than one game. It's easier to sit Irving and Lebron vs the 76ers and hope for the win than it is to sit Irving vs the Sixers and Lebron vs the Celtics. Instead of lowering your chances to win 1 game, you are now lowering your chances to win 2.

I'm not sure if I'm wording that well enough to get my point across, but I think it's a pretty big point. Sitting IT4, Horford and Bradley against the Nets may end up a win anyway then you get to play the Bulls and Pacers at full strength. Sitting IT4 against the Nets, Horford against the Bulls and Avery against the Pacers and now you're more likely to go 1-2 or 0-3 then the 2-1 or 3-0 you would had you just sat all 3 vs the Nets.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I think I read part of this idea here before but I really believe the NBA (like MLB) needs to shrink its season.

I understand the economic realities of the TV contract make this infeasible but moving to a 62 game schedule would solve the 'star players getting rest' issue.

Schedule would break down as follows (using Celtics as an example):

Home/Away against all Western Conference teams (15x2 = 30 games)
Home/Away against all non-divisional Eastern Conference teams (10x2 = 20 games)
Three games against all division opponents (4x3= 12 games)
Total = 62 games

This schedule would allow all fan bases (season ticket holders) to see each team at least one each year. The downside is each team only plays divisional opponents three times so there is an imbalance in home/away but personally, I don't care much about divisions in the NBA and with a de-emphasis on the importance of divisions for home court in the playoffs back in 2015, I think this is a logical step if the NBA were to shrink the schedule.

Also there is practically an even split in terms of Western/Eastern Conference games (30 vs. 32) but I really think it's important that there is a home/home between all teams in the conferences for the fans.


Edit: or increase the schedule to 66 games and have one more set of games against divisional opponents. Then there is equity in terms of home/away.
I can't recall any league reducing their season, ever, except in a strike year, so I think this is a non-starter. If it were possible I like your breakdown but with 6 games against your division "rivals" instead of 3 (or they aren't rivals) for a total of 74 games. 8 game reduction might be more agreeable than 16. But I think more likely you keep your 82 game schedule and just extend it over 7 or 14 more calendar games. It's not like basketball has cold weather issues like the baseball does (hard to start MLB earlier or play later) or even a traditional start and ending dates.

If you're an owner, or The Commish, or a network here is your nightmare scenario- Toyota, Verizon and American Airlines are on the phone and they want to know why they bought a :30 second TV spot for $350,000 but the audience they were expecting is half that so they want 50% of their money back and they want it back right now. That can't continue or all your sponsors walk and your league is dead.
Exactly. The sponsors won't stand for it. Easy quick fix for the networks, sponsors and TV fans: No back to backs when a game is nationally televised. If a nationally televised game is on a Saturday, neither team plays on Friday night or on Sunday. This will require the TV schedule to be made when the whole NBA schedule is made in the summer but would solve a good chunk of that issue. You could probably Flex some games to National TV, too, if a young superstar appears or a team succeeds out of nowhere. If the NFL can flex from 1PM to 8PM on Sunday, the NBA can flex a game from Friday to Saturday in some circumstances, with enough notice.
 

bosox79

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I can't recall any league reducing their season, ever, except in a strike year, so I think this is a non-starter. .
The NHL reduced the 84 game season to 82 games in the offseason of 1994-1995. It's the exception that makes the rule, though.
 

ifmanis5

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Everyone can talk about the fans and the Integrity of the Game all they want but as soon as the money is in jeopardy, you have an actual problem. This can get fixed but make no mistake, this is now an actual problem.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Its hard to believe that many NBA owners will agree to a shorter regular season. So any solution is going to have to come from altering how coaches rest players, a rule against sitting non injured players during nationally televised games, more creative scheduling or lengthening the season by few weeks. I still stand by the last one as the easiest to implement even if it risks irritating fans like Jon Abbey (I suspect he is in good company with his view that the NBA season is too long).
 

bosox79

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Why do you think extending the season is easier than just eliminating a few preseason games? Do they get enough revenue in those preseason games that the owners wouldn't agree to get rid of them? The season is way too long but as far as casual fans go, most don't start watching until April and the playoffs anyway so casual fans might end up seeing 2 more weeks of basketball which isn't a bad thing for the NBA. Fans like myself and JonAbbey will just suck it up and watch anyway because we're hardcore fans (or at least I am.)
 

ifmanis5

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I remember during the 2011 Lockout when the regular season started on Christmas Day many kind of liked it that way. Two preseason games, 66 game schedule. However, there were fewer off days so players got burned out anyway. I think Silver is different than Stern and will at least consider player fatigue when they try to solve this.
 

NoXInNixon

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Everyone can talk about the fans and the Integrity of the Game all they want but as soon as the money is in jeopardy, you have an actual problem. This can get fixed but make no mistake, this is now an actual problem.
What percent of basketball revenue is generated by the national TV money vs. local TV deals vs. ticket revenue?
 

ilol@u

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Having the league micro manage teams on who they can or can't rest is a slippery slope. What happens if Popovich says "oh I can't rest my guys? Screw you." and benches Kawhi Leonard after starting and playing 2 minutes? Is the NBA going to start micro managing how many minutes a player plays? It's ridiculous. Leave it alone. If teams want to rest players and decrease their win probability for that game, that's fine.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Why do you think extending the season is easier than just eliminating a few preseason games? Do they get enough revenue in those preseason games that the owners wouldn't agree to get rid of them? The season is way too long but as far as casual fans go, most don't start watching until April and the playoffs anyway so casual fans might end up seeing 2 more weeks of basketball which isn't a bad thing for the NBA. Fans like myself and JonAbbey will just suck it up and watch anyway because we're hardcore fans (or at least I am.)
that is exactly the best way to do it, I bet you could do get one week that way, two if you extended the season.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Why do you think extending the season is easier than just eliminating a few preseason games? Do they get enough revenue in those preseason games that the owners wouldn't agree to get rid of them? The season is way too long but as far as casual fans go, most don't start watching until April and the playoffs anyway so casual fans might end up seeing 2 more weeks of basketball which isn't a bad thing for the NBA. Fans like myself and JonAbbey will just suck it up and watch anyway because we're hardcore fans (or at least I am.)
Well I am already assuming that the preseason reduction that is mentioned in the CBA will help (starting the season a week earlier and limiting preseason games to six) but they will need to do more work to eliminate back to backs. It may not be easy but if they extend the regular season by two weeks after the new preseason schedule that might work (accounting for shared arenas and other events that need to be scheduled). Its more realistic than eliminating games which will hit the owners in their wallets.
 

NoXInNixon

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Is it really so difficult to just make sure that the marquee TV games are not scheduled as the second night of a back to back? Next season when Cleveland plays at Golden State, make sure it's the first game of a road trip, and so forth.
 

sezwho

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Given that Irving/LeBron/Love all played a night later against the Lakers and had monster games, it's hard to look at the Cavs' decision to rest them in prime time as anything other than selfish and also kind of stupid.

This isn't that hard.
To the first point, I think it could demonstrate the opposite.

To the second, yes it is or it would have been fixed.

Edited for pointless snark
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Is it really so difficult to just make sure that the marquee TV games are not scheduled as the second night of a back to back? Next season when Cleveland plays at Golden State, make sure it's the first game of a road trip, and so forth.
But it isn't just marquee TV games where back to back games are the problem. The post -ASB period is a grind for players whether you have back to backs or not. This is when earlier back to backs take their toll. And to put it more simply, back to backs suck regardless of where they are in the season. Per this link:

"To the surprise of no NBA fan, teams playing on the tail end of a back-to-back win less frequently than teams who aren’t. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, teams on back-to-backs have a .444 win percentage compared to .517 otherwise. And while this discrepancy is partially explained by the fact that most back-to-backs end on the road (68%), teams win roughly 8% less often both at home and away."

I suspect that if you told any player/coach that their season might be two weeks longer but they could be better rested and have a better chance of winning more games, I think they would take it. Adding a few weeks on to the season would likely hardly faze fans too.

Finally, it takes away any excuse to rest a player when the coach/organization knows the league wants the player on the court (i.e. national telecasts). I mean, sure Pop might still rest guys but most NBA coaches/players will recognize that this is a fair trade. Well, except James Harden. He just wants to hoop and then rest when he's done.
 

maufman

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Having the league micro manage teams on who they can or can't rest is a slippery slope. What happens if Popovich says "oh I can't rest my guys? Screw you." and benches Kawhi Leonard after starting and playing 2 minutes? Is the NBA going to start micro managing how many minutes a player plays? It's ridiculous. Leave it alone. If teams want to rest players and decrease their win probability for that game, that's fine.
It wouldn't be hard to write an effective rule. Something like this:

-- No team may "rest" more than one of its top six players (top 6 based on MP in the past 20 games or some such), except during the final two weeks of the regular season.

-- "Rest" is defined as a player who is not injured playing fewer than 16 minutes in a game, foul-outs excepted.

-- A player is not be considered "injured" unless he also misses the preceding or following game.

-- Commissioner can grant exceptions to the rules in cases where rigid application would be inequitable (e.g., multiple players on a team contract a short-term illness that causes them to miss a single game, or multiple starters returning from injury makes the "top-6" calc screwy).
 

SilasCL

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The GM's job is not to win a title, it's to make money. We could come up with a million rules to try and force teams to compete every night, but there's always going to be a loophole of some kind.

The league needs to decide if the regular season is meaningless or not. If it's meaningless, continue as usual. If it's supposed to matter, reward the teams for performance. Take 20% of the national TV deal and give it to teams according to how many national games they play and how many national games they win. This is how it's done in the Premier League, and they almost never have this issue. Or you could dramatically alter the playoff structure, make the top 4 teams automatically in, then 5-12 all play one game to get in as the lower seed.

The point is that you can't force teams to take every game in the regular season seriously if there is such a small reward for each win.
 

maufman

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The rest rule above could be circumvented by foul trouble
I don't think anyone would send a player out to commit 6 fouls in 15 minutes in the name of "rest."

The reason I outlined my rule as I did is because resting players is, for better or worse, part of the game. The problem isn't rest; it's resting multiple players simultaneously, such that the team is conveying indifference as to whether it wins or loses that game. That's unfair to paying fans and damaging to the league's business interests, and it could be stopped without making the more radical changes suggested here. (Not that some of those changes don't have merit apart from this current controversy.)
 

sezwho

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It is funny/ironic that the most comprehensive welfare system in the United States exists for the billionaires who own the Pro sports teams. There is literally no amount of incompetence and failure which can result in you not making a fortune. In fact, the worse you are the more the system tries to give you advantages. On the other hand, as has been observed up thread, the European pro soccer leagues punish failure by relegation which has severe financial implications. I think it's pretty clear that Manchester United would never undertake "the process" for example. And the Cleveland Browns wouldn't be able to soak up extraordinary talent from the NFL draft every year only to pee down their cleats season after season. It's also ironic that the purest form of performance leading to financial reward in sport for the United States is in the colleges (though not for the athletes of course). It's also true that colleges in Europe actually focus on education, and they have a comprehensive club team system for their athletes instead of the sham. that is big-time college sports. #endrant
 

smastroyin

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It seems like instead of trying to force rest rules down teams throats, they could simply schedule backup marquee games for the key dates (I don't think ABC cares about a random Saturday in November) and let ABC flex out with TNT or ESPN. Maybe you couldn't get the top of the top production if there is a last minute switch but I think the nightly TNT production is just fine anyway. Then, make the only rule be that you notify the league and network at least 24 hours in advance, and you make sure these games aren't the second nights of b2b's so there aren't any real surprises.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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The pearl clutching over this issue "for the fans" is really starting to wear on me. The issue, as many here have pointed out, is ultimately with the advertisers, but I have come to the conclusion that people with sob stories about buying expensive tickets for their children only to find out that stars were resting should basically shut up.

Or just don't ever ever ever put on Mike and Mike when you're getting ready for work.
 

sezwho

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The pearl clutching over this issue "for the fans" is really starting to wear on me. The issue, as many here have pointed out, is ultimately with the advertisers, but I have come to the conclusion that people with sob stories about buying expensive tickets for their children only to find out that stars were resting should basically shut up.

Or just don't ever ever ever put on Mike and Mike when you're getting ready for work.
I'm inclined to agree, at least about the Mike and Mike part. I also agree on the 'what about the children!' crap for what really amounts to a handful of late season games which almost by definition don't matter (if they did, the players wouldn't sit).

However, I also recall gathering up my pennies and inviting in some out of town friends to see what was going to be the final appearance of one Michael Jeffrey Jordan in Boston during his Bullets farewell tour. I almost never go to the games in person, but truly wanted to be able to tell my kids I saw him play in person and this was my last chance. His Airness walked out on the court during intros, waved, and returned to the bench for the duration: DNP-CD. I get that this was a foreseeable outcome and I suppose I don't hold any real animosity, but it still completely sucked and I've clearly not forgotten.
 

smastroyin

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Hey, I flew back to Boston for a Pedro Martinez Greg Maddux duel in 1999, and then an hour before gametime Jimy replaced Pedro with Brian Rose because he was mad at Pedro for whatever, Greg Maddux sucked, and the Sox still lost because Tom Gordon punted the ninth.
 

sezwho

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It seems like instead of trying to force rest rules down teams throats, they could simply schedule backup marquee games for the key dates (I don't think ABC cares about a random Saturday in November) and let ABC flex out with TNT or ESPN. Maybe you couldn't get the top of the top production if there is a last minute switch but I think the nightly TNT production is just fine anyway. Then, make the only rule be that you notify the league and network at least 24 hours in advance, and you make sure these games aren't the second nights of b2b's so there aren't any real surprises.
Nice, this is the best plan I've seen!

1) Cleanest/simplest to administer assuming the flex schedule can be sorted
2) Doesn't require embracing the absurdist fantasy of fewer games (agents..hello...)
3) Might actually result in higher ratings

Also, my condolences on the Pedro game - sounds like the frog didn't have wings and bumped his booty.
 

maufman

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The pearl clutching over this issue "for the fans" is really starting to wear on me. The issue, as many here have pointed out, is ultimately with the advertisers, but I have come to the conclusion that people with sob stories about buying expensive tickets for their children only to find out that stars were resting should basically shut up.

Or just don't ever ever ever put on Mike and Mike when you're getting ready for work.

There's a difference between the team's star not playing, and the team's four best players all showing up in street clothes, even though none of them are hurt. The former is part of the game, and a risk you take when you buy tickets. The latter creates something less than a competitive game; neither the ticket-buying public nor the advertisers signed up for that.

Also, there's a reason why these mass benchings almost always happen on the road -- teams know they are screwing their business partners by doing this. I don't blame coaches for taking advantage of the current rules, but the Commissioner's office ought to change the rules to end the practice.
 

ifmanis5

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FYI, per the new CBA which starts next season, there are already schedule changes in place:

8 pre-season games reduced to 6
Pre-season shortened 7 days, Regular seson expanded to 177 days, up from 170
4 games in 5 nights all but eliminated
The number of days off teams provide to players expanded to 18 from 16
 

RetractableRoof

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I don't think anyone would send a player out to commit 6 fouls in 15 minutes in the name of "rest."
I never thought I would see Hack-a-Shaq implemented as a strategic weapon either. If Popovich wants someone on the bench, there is no doubt in my mind he would circumvent any official resting rule. It would be as easy as keeping them on the bench until about 5 minutes left in the first half and tell them to go get 3 fouls. Instant rest, and at most it costs them a few points - which they wouldn't care about anyway because they are resting player(s). The only difference would be in uniform versus in street clothes.

I think the league can't have it both ways. You can't mandate players playing marquee games, and then also give them ridiculous schedules that require rest by design to be at maximum effectiveness during the playoffs.
 

ifmanis5

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New guidelines for resting players for high profile TV games released today:
The NBA announced its new policy for resting players in the 2017-18 season.

The rules state teams are prohibited from resting healthy players for any "high-profile, nationally televised game." A violation of this could result in a fine of at least $100,000, and absent of unusual circumstances teams should not rest multiple healthy players when playing on the road. While this policy could help, it's still very likely NBA teams will be resting their guys unless it's a national TV game.
In short, don't do it.
We'll see how this goes, especially with Popp and LeBron who aren't traditionally strict rules followers.
 

Kliq

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Who determines who a high-profile star is? Somebody that made All-NBA? If the Celtics bench Hayward for a road game on national TV would that count? What about intriguing rookies? I get why this is an issue but I think it's difficult to enforce, except by reducing the number of games.
 

bosox79

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Who determines who a high-profile star is? Somebody that made All-NBA? If the Celtics bench Hayward for a road game on national TV would that count? What about intriguing rookies? I get why this is an issue but I think it's difficult to enforce, except by reducing the number of games.
What are you reading? It says high profile, national games. It doesn't say anything about the quality of player. It says you can't rest healthy players. Technically, that would mean you need to play your whole bench too during national games. Is there an article on this that fleshes it out more?

edit: I can already see someone suiting up for a game, playing the tip off, and then sitting for the rest of it.
 

BigSoxFan

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Who determines who a high-profile star is? Somebody that made All-NBA? If the Celtics bench Hayward for a road game on national TV would that count? What about intriguing rookies? I get why this is an issue but I think it's difficult to enforce, except by reducing the number of games.
Isn't the "high profile" determination based on the game, not the player? I don't see why teams can't just hold out a guy due to a stomach bug or something to get around this.
 

reggiecleveland

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What are you reading? It says high profile, national games. It doesn't say anything about the quality of player. It says you can't rest healthy players.

edit: I can already see someone suiting up for a game, playing the tip off, and then sitting for the rest of it.
Batting first and playing shortstop.... Lou Gehrig?
http://www.markstangbaseballbooks.com/node/71