August 12, 2022

Richard Jefferson
Photo: Getty Images

Professional sport is not the easiest way to earn a living. This was part of what Richard Jefferson was trying to figure out during his viral rant after Adam Silver felt like considering the idea of shortening the NBA season. Jefferson was drafted in 2001 and to his credit, the first 10 of his 17 NBA seasons, he played 80 or more regular season games six times, 79 once.

However, her career completely changed after her seventh season. During the eighth season, his field goal percentage dropped from 46.6% from the field to 43.9, and his scoring average dropped three points. From then on, he would be a role player in the NBA after being a reliable 20-point scorer on an Eastern Conference champion, because if recovery and nutrition weren’t quite in 2005 what ‘they’re into 2022, the NBA grind is still a beast.

This grind, as Jefferson explained, helps separate the pros from the joes, but it also crushes the product of NBA basketball. Sure, cryotherapy and normatecs aid recovery, but players are still flying all over the country, landing in the middle of the night to play NBA games on short notice. Harvard University’s medical director of sleep medicine, Dr. Charles Czeisler, told Tom Haberstroh that the NBA is deprive of sleep its crazy-scheduled players, even with the reduced number of back-to-backs and the extended all-star break. He likened it to asking players to play drunk.

Czeisler said:

“It doesn’t make sense. These guys are so extraordinarily talented, and it’s a shame they’re impaired. It would be like the NBA saying, ‘OK, let’s see how they fare if we starve them. players”. OK, let’s see how they fare if we get them all drunk before they play, so everyone has to do six shots before they make the match. Would anyone in their right mind consider that?

When Jefferson castigated the players on TV, it portrayed the players as entitled and pampered – he actually said pampered twice. Stephen A. Smith is much less so. He was talking more about how a handful of players who take days off while uninjured can come back to hurt players in collective bargaining, but he still placed the onus for change on the players. NBPA president — and New Orleans Pelicans guard — CJ McCollum has been on First Take all week. He argued that it is not still players who get off the hook. Often the management schedules holidays. Never forget that the San Antonio Spurs made this practice famous, back when Gregg Popovich regularly sat Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker in nationally televised games.

Take a look at the Milwaukee Bucks’ final game of the 2021-22 regular season. They had a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the East with a win. The Bucks went with a starting lineup consisting of Jordan Nwora, Sandro Mamukelashvili, Thanais Antetokounmpo, Jevon Carter and Jrue Holiday. Either most of the starters and key reserves have decided individually or as a group not to play in this game, or more likely the coaches and/or management have decided to keep nearly every player who could contribute to the playoffs out of the game. .

It’s always easier to yell and yell at the authorized basketball player. It makes television better, and sometimes it’s the instinctive move. Jefferson is no longer Arizona’s young high-flyer. He is 41 years old. Smith has a lot of blame to blame for anyone at all times, so maybe he should be more intentional in pressing this criticism towards NBA senior management. Shortening the season could make people without uniforms more willing to face their best players all year round. And for the handful of 2018 Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and Kawhi Leonard situations that do occur, those can be handled individually.

If the NBA feels that lack of star power on random nights is the reason national television ratings aren’t where the league feels they should be, then shortening the schedule could be a big deal. significant step. The giant 82-game regular season slate, much like baseball’s 162-game schedule, is hard to remember for six months of play with endless streaming options available on TV. Removing certain games from the schedule in either league could make them feel more important and therefore potentially generate more viewers per contest, which could bring in more money in the long run. If the leagues believe that’s really a problem.

MLB just redid its national television contracts and received record numbers, as did the NFL. The NBA is next and ESPN and Turner are leaning more and more into live events – TNT and TBS are forgoing scripted programming – it should not be difficult for the league to achieve its goal of triple the price maintaining the status quo.

Silver might be worried about the 10-year contract after that, because who knows what the world will be like literally then. If he can present data that shows more ad revenue will hit more eyeballs with a 65-72 game schedule than going there. That’s still a lot of games waiting for people to watch.

Financially, the decision is to mostly stay with the status quo, but make small adjustments like the play-in tournament. But for TV pundits, there’s a reason Isiah Thomas hasn’t played as long as Chris Paul and Michael Jordan – after two retirements – still couldn’t produce for as many seasons as LeBron James. The 82 games and four playoff rounds are brutal. Guys are playing longer now because the medicine has improved, but the grind is the grind. Players will need breaks to get through their sleep privacy in the most optimal way possible. So don’t get mad at them for doing what they need to do to have the longest, most successful career possible, or for what management asks them to do.