Last year’s NBA season was shortened to 66 games as a result of the lockout, and NBA.com asked several coaches about this coming season’s return to normalcy. Only one — George Karl of the Nuggets — was willing to suggest that he’d didn’t really mind having fewer games to deal with:
I’m sure Commissioner Stern won’t like this, but I think the product would be better if we shortened the season. When we start playing in late October, the people are thinking football. If you could just get us less fatigue [in a shorter season], I think you’d have a better product. When they started on Christmas Day, I thought, “This is not a bad idea. This should be the start of NBA basketball … Maybe start Dec. 1 and play 62 games, whatever number they’d come to.”
I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I wouldn’t object to, say, a 76-game season starting the day after Election Day. (Four against each of four division rivals = 16; three against each of ten other conference rivals = 30; two against each team in the other conference = 30.) Still, football continues to creep later into the fall, and I suspect it is the policy of the major sports leagues to ignore, to the extent possible, each other’s existence. So 82 it is, for the foreseeable future.