Sometimes NBA players can fall into the habit of giving routine, cliched answers to reporters. Part of that comes from habit, part of it comes from instructions from coaches and the league itself, and part of it is the worry that, especially in today’s day and age, something they say will be taken out of context and spun by the media.
All of those reasons are valid, but it’s still nice to see when players open up a little bit more and give us some actual insight into the life of an NBA player. That’s why it was so refreshing to see the profile over at CBS Sports where several USA Basketball players spoke relatively openly about issues such as “What is the most frustrating aspect of media coverage of the NBA?” and “What’s the biggest misconception that fans have about NBA players?”
Kenneth Faried sums up the difficulty that pro athletes can have sometimes with his answer to the aforementioned question about misconceptions:
That we’re not human. That we don’t have feelings, or we just don’t need sometimes our own personal space. You want to sign every autograph, you want to take every picture, but you can’t sometimes. Sometimes you’re just tired or you’re with your family and you want to spend quality time and be out with your fam. Sometimes people think if you don’t want to take a picture with them, you’re rude or you’re disrespectful. ‘He’s a jerk, he’s an a-hole.’ That’s not the case. I would love to take a picture, but sometimes I’m with my daughter. And she deserves as much time with me as possible because I don’t see her much throughout the season. I wish people understood that in a better light.
I have a family, too. We want to live our lives. If someone ran up to you each and every day and wanted to get a picture or an autograph, you wouldn’t feel safe or you wouldn’t feel comfortable. Sometimes you don’t know people’s intentions. Are they going to think, ‘He’s a jerk?’
Another topic that the players were asked about was what the ideal number of games an NBA season would be if money wasn’t an issue. Interestingly, of the players quoted, the majority believe that 82 seems to be a reasonable number.
However, Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin had a different response, as he believes the number should be 66, the same number that was played during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. However, Griffin thinks the actual length of time the season takes should remain the same:
Fatigue and injuries, and better product. If you have less games, less back-to-backs, the product’s better. The fans will appreciate it more. You see those college guys playing so hard, but they play 36 games in the same amount of time we play 82 almost. I just think it would be a better product.
I would wonder how many players in the league agree with Blake, although, even if there was a significant push for it, it’s hard to imagine it ever happening. While Griffin has some valid points about fatigue and injuries watering down some regular season NBA games, Draymond Green argues that 82 games allows teams enough time to really gel as a unit before the playoffs.
Within the course of the 82, some people catch their stride, as you saw the season before last year. The Spurs caught their stride in like the last 35-40 games. If you’re not playing 82, do they catch their stride? Are they world champions? Who knows?
It’s a fascinating debate that of course doesn’t mean anything because it would never happen. The league would simply be throwing away far too much money for them to even consider decreasing the schedule by that much; although, in Griffin’s defense, the question was posed as if money was not an issue.
Eighty-two games, plus an additional 20+ for playoff teams (not to mention things like international play) is probably too much for players, and we may be able to see elite players stay elite for longer if they didn’t have as much wear and tear on their bodies. However, the NBA has been playing 82-game seasons since 1967, so it’s not going away anytime soon.
(Via: CBS Sports)