Editorial: NBA needs to adjust its game

Published 9:35 am Monday, July 5, 2010

What’s wrong with the NBA?

Lots of things.

You know something is wrong with your league when the star players can call each other to decide which teams they want to play together on so they can win championships. Yes, if you didn’t know, a lot of the top players happen to be free agents this off-season, and they want to make deals that will ensure they can win titles by being on the same teams as the other star players.

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You know something is wrong with your league when fans show little interest till the end of the season. The problem is that the NBA players play far too many games — 82 during the regular season — to retain fan interest and player durability. In fact, the NBA playoffs have grown so lengthy that they seem like a sports season unto themselves. Fewer games would give the fans and the players the sense that the games matter. Of course, from a ticket standpoint, reducing games probably is not going to happen. However, such a risky move could spur greater interest.

You know something is wrong with your league when, for the initial 90 percent of the season, most players don’t play hard till near the end of the game. The reason for this is twofold. 1. The offense has far too much of an advantage over the defense in NBA play. If the rules made the game more like international basketball, the competition would heat up. The ratings would go up, too. Sure, offense gives fans immediate gratification, but too much of an advantage over the long haul harms the game. Who wants to watch score after score after score? Where’s the thrill in that? 2. NBA play has become too much like playground ball, which might explain also why our U.S. teams can’t win gold at the Olympics.

You know something is wrong with your league when you have a lockout, a strike or the threat of a lockout or strike seemingly every other year or so. Oh wait. That’s every major sports league.

We sincerely hope the NBA can address some of its woes. TV ratings are up for all sports leagues, so that is a positive, but changes could bolster the NBA’s market share.