What does a 72-game season look like? Packed like sardines.
Here’s the real hook for players with a season that starts Dec. 15 — they lose essentially only one paycheck.
Their salaries in a shortened season are pro-rated by games played, a 72 game season would mean 10 fewer games than normal (a 12 percent loss). That is basically a little more than one missed paycheck total for players over the course of a season. Money is the bait to tempt players to take the offer. (Teams would only lose five home games of revenue.)
For fans, what 72 games would mean is one crowded season — which is not good for quality of play. Teams normally play 15 games a month (give or take a couple), and the season would start six weeks late. So most teams would have played about 22 games by Dec. 15.
To miss only 10 games means one very condensed schedule — basically the pace of the 1999 50-game season (the last time there was a lockout) just spread over another month and a half. John Schuhmann breaks it down a little more at NBA.com.
As we laid it out last week, a 72-game schedule allows every team to play in every arena at least once. Each team would play the 15 teams in the other conference two times and the 14 teams in their own conference three times….
But if the players approve this deal, get ready for a schedule with very little time for practice or recovery from aches and pains.
What we saw in 1999 was guys who got tired and it showed more on the defensive end. Basically, things got sloppy. This is a longer version of that so expect more guys missing games with minor injuries, and expect some stretches of play where coaches will want to burn the tape (if they still used tape).
But that’s the offer on the table. If the players reject the owners’ offer, well, it likely becomes chaos. And all we’ll know is there will be less than 72 games.