Blogtable: Take a minute (or four)

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Darkhorse MVP | Best backcourt | Speeding up the game


> What are your initial thoughts on a 44-minute game? What’s good? What’s bad? And what do you think of the chances of this ever being adopted?

Shorter quarters might do it, but what about fewer timeouts? (Alissa Hollimon/NBAE)

Shorter quarters might do it, but what about fewer timeouts? (Alissa Hollimon/NBAE)

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: My first thought on the 44-minute game was, if the NBA sheds four minutes per game, how will MLB manage to add it to its average running time per nine innings? That’s the sport with the real too-long problem. As for this league, while I’m not persuaded that shaving four minutes of game action would matter much, I do think cutting the number of timeouts would help. Eleven-minute quarters won’t change the way teams coach or play the final two minutes, where most of the critics lob their complaints. Call me skeptical, too, that an 8.3 percent reduction would be applied across the board. To the 24-second clock? To the players’ salaries (they’d be working shorter shifts, especially bench guys)? To the owners’ TV revenue (fewer timeouts mean fewer cash-friendly commercial breaks)? And, ahem, to the ticket prices paid by fans?

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I’m all for doing anything that will stop regulation time games from dragging on interminably past 2 1/2 hours and toward the 3-hour mark.  Frankly, I think that could be accomplished more effectively — and making the product better to view — by eliminating two timeouts per team, especially at the end of games.  If the NBA wants to make a move to shorten the overall time of play, I’d make the bigger cut to 10-minute quarters, bringing the game in line with FIBA rules so that game is uniform all over the world.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: There’s no need to go from 48 minutes to 44 minutes in the name of shortening the game. If this is really about player health, then find a way to shorten the season. If owners want the players they pay millions of dollars to each season to remain on the floor and not in the training room then they’ll accept a few less home gates for the good of their players and the game. There are too many back-to-backs, too many stretches of four games in five nights when it is really unnecessary. Not only does it put players at great risk of injury, it diminishes the product. In short, don’t shorten the game, shorten the season.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Will teams be cutting ticket prices the same percentage on nights the clock is reduced? Otherwise, I’m not moved either way. On the overall list of things of issues worth a strong stand, I’d put it just in front of advertising on uniforms. There’s nothing wrong with giving a look during one or a few exhibition games or taking a test drive through the D-League a few times. That’s a long way from the NBA making the change during its own regular season. I don’t think it happens soon, if at all.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: It would make games shorter and reduce injuries over the course of the season, but would also reduce the value of players 6-15 on every roster. I think the Players Association would have a problem with that. To reduce the time of games, I’d leave them at 48 minutes, reduce the number of timeouts (as they have in the 44-minute scenario) and adopt the FIBA rule that timeouts can only be called on dead balls or after a made basket. And to reduce injures, wear and tear and back-to-backs, I’d go to a 72-game season.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: After watching game after game during the FIBA World Cup (where the games are just 40 minutes long) I gained a new appreciation for the 48-minute NBA game. This 44-minute experiment splits the difference. I’m not sure there is a discernible good or bad to identify in this experimental game until I actually see the game played on the 19th. Whatever the reasons are for messing with this, and I’m sure the competition committee has plenty, I don’t know that it will dramatically impact the game the way people think in the short term. The chance of this being adopted anytime soon would appear to be slim. But if they are experimenting in exhibition games, it’s at least on the radar.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Initially, I like the concept of NBA games taking less time to play. But I really don’t like the idea of playing shorter games, particularly when you’re shortening game times by all of four minutes. What bothers me is that NBA games have always been 48 minutes long, which makes comparing stats across decades so easy to do — you always know that someone averaged however many points or rebounds per game in a 48 minute game. If the NBA is really serious about shortening game times, it’s very simple: Have fewer timeouts, fewer commercial breaks, and enforce the actual timeout lengths. Losing a minute of actual game time seems like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Simon Legg, NBA Australia: I’m for these types of changes being trialed during the preseason, there’s no better format for it to take place but I don’t think I want it introduced. Fewer timeouts is probably a positive but I’m not for it actually coming in. Does the NBA need to be closer to the length of a college game or an international game? How long would it take for coaches to adapt tactically to the changes? Credit to Adam Silver for actively looking to try new things and deliver on proposals he has brought up but I’m not so sure this will ever come into fruition.

Akshay Manwani, NBA India: I’m not a fan of the suggestion to be honest.  I can see the positives that come with it, namely fewer minutes per game translate into shorter playing time, which would in some way reduce the workload for players in what is a long NBA season. Also, I see this as the NBA willing to bridge the gap towards FIBA’s playing time which stands at 40 minutes. However, the not-so-good part is that fewer minutes may not necessarily translate into more rest time for key players. Instead, reserve players might see their minutes drop. And then there is the whole stats issue — how do you make comparisons between players who play 44 minutes against those who played 48 minutes? I wouldn’t know the chances of something like this being adopted, but I hope this never comes to pass.

Takuma Oikawa, NBA Japan: This is very interesting. I love NBA’s such unique and flexible idea. If the system is adopted, reducing many top players’ playing time, and they may show higher quality play. But the NBA’s 48-minute game has a long history: the 48-minute frame is not too long and not too short. So I think the game time format should not change. If the NBA wants to adopt short game time anyway, I’d rather it be the 40-minute length, like the FIBA game.

Davide Chinellato, NBA Italy: It’s great to see the NBA taking care of issues and making experiments to solve what is perceived as a problem. But I don’t see a 44-minute game happening for real. Regular season games aren’t too long. Playoffs games are, but not in terms of playing time. Fans want less ads when watching a game on TV, not less time of their favorite star on the court. Plus, a 48-minute game is part of what makes the NBA different from FIBA basketball and its 40-minute game.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: I am not a big fan of changes, despite the fact that after some years I often admit that they were for the best. The 44-minute idea is very close to the FIBA playing time (40 minutes) and the plus-8 minutes was something that always held the two worlds apart, in a more distinguished way than the Atlantic ocean. Now the trend goes somethink like “less is more,” but I don’t like that minimal aspect when we are talking about the NBA. We want more!

Abraham Romero, NBA Spain : The players will be happy about the rest, but worried about the stats. Less minutes, less points. My thoughts are they are going to have to find a way to make the game faster without reducing the total time of play.

30 Comments

  1. taekayo says:

    Too many foul calls on superstars. More than the timeouts and the “extra minute”, what really lengthens the game is the time players take their free throws. There are just too many foul calls given for superstars to pad their stats on FTs. Let them play.

  2. Wiktor says:

    Sorry for my weak english (i’m from Poland). Less games, shorter quarters aren’t good way to improve health issue in NBA. It could be much worse, because many players would have shortened gametime. I think the worst thing in NBA is too long time outs, to many TV spots. It’s ridiculous that 48 minutes game extend to 3 hours. When I watch it in Poland at 3 A.M. I fall asleep after few timeouts, because the game is boring. 10 second action, 2 minutes timeout and TV commercials, 20 second actions, foul, freethrows (2minutes high fives). I think players prefer more game, less pauses, too. 3 hours on the court 3, 4 times a week must be hard, and 4 minutes less isn’t salvation for them. Finally give them chance to go back home after 2, not 3 hours and they would have more time for rest. And last but not least, I prefer some ads on players shirts than watching 2 hours commercials during the game.

  3. Mike says:

    How’s this for a change. Forget making what is possibly the most pointless adjustment to any sport.

    The All-Star game should be 20 minutes long.

    But wait, there’s more, because my plan has more than one All-Star game.

    Each division in the NBA should have it’s own All-Star team. So instead of having a West and East team, there are Pacific All-Stars, Southwest All-Stars, Atlantic All-Stars, Central All-Stars, and Northwest All-Stars.

    The tournament could be set out like the playoffs, in which the All-Star teams play each other in the Western and Eastern conference. The top teams from the Western and Eastern conference then play in an NBA All-Star final.

    NO MORE flashy razzle-dazzle rubbish. These teams are actually playing for something.

    NO MORE risk of players getting burnt out because they only play two 20-minute games (3 games if your team advances to the final, but that would be held the next day or much later in the evening giving players from those 2 teams time to recover).

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… NO MORE ALL-STAR SELECTION SNUBS!!!!!

  4. Rafael says:

    Coach McHale said it best. Stop blowing the whistle. Leave THE BEST GAME IN THE WORLD exactly how its been. I can’t believe these guys that “love the game” don’t want to play 82 games. Ball is and should be everything. Jordan begged to play over the summer too…. Lil let down cus I love Dirk n Bron but C’mon Man!!!

  5. Billy Hoyle says:

    Please NBA , leave the game alone…..who is complaining about having to watch NBA Basketball for too long????? …First world problems?

    If you really need to shorten the game , remove some time outs and enforce actual time of timeouts and also remove the video ref. You could prob keep the video Ref for the last min of the game. Anything else and it just drags out uneccesarily.

    Messing with 48min is messing with History. Please dont mess with our game. It would be like changing the length of the court, or the size of the ball or width of the hoop. WHy? just leave it alone. WE LOVE THIS GAME….why tamper with it.?

  6. Kevspurs says:

    When the clock is less than 5 minutes, the teams recibes timeouts or cut the timeouts.

    (some people start to get bored about timeouts and fouls)

  7. Longer Games says:

    Games should be longer, not shorter….what is the NBA thinking!? -_-

    So the shorted game gives the NBA more time to air ads…yeah we know what is really happening.

  8. Kobe@Manila says:

    Just change the 24 sec shot clock into 18 sec shot clock.. That would make the game livelier..

  9. Remember back when Spurs rested some of their players and got that fine?
    If teams don’t want their players p, their star players injured during the season just play them less.
    It’s not as if there getting paid peanuts to go and play are they, they are on very good salaries.
    The way I see it is injury in sport will always happen no matter the game length and there only playing 48 minutes anyway if that due to subs so really, this shouldn’t be about injury cause sadly George broke his leg during a 40 minute game.

    However I don’t see why time outs should be cut, just manage how they are used. No one wants adds but they keep the price of watching tv as low as it is. Just make all time outs 20 seconds and limit the number of t-o within the last two minutes of each quarter to 2 and the game will flow.

  10. erik lybaert says:

    less timeouts and shorter timeouts will address this situation. Over here in Europe the NBA is chasing potential viewers away with the endless drawn out timeouts. Equally important. Put an end to players calling timeouts; Stop bailing them out on the court. Do not tamper with the 48 minute game. On the contrary, try to convince FIBA to adopt this.

  11. mitchell key says:

    Shave a tv timeout. They’re the worst…

  12. freshkest says:

    Less minutes, less game, less entertainment for the fans. Might as well play one-minute quarters. Stupid idea. If anything, they should make the games longer.

  13. Mike says:

    How’s this for a change. Forget making what is possibly the most pointless adjustment to any sport.

    The All-Star game should be 20 minutes long.

    But wait, there’s more, because my plan has more than one All-Star game.

    Each division in the NBA should have it’s own All-Star team. So instead of having a West and East team, there are Pacific All-Stars, Southwest All-Stars, Atlantic All-Stars, Central All-Stars, and Northwest All-Stars.

    The tournament could be set out like the playoffs, in which the All-Star teams play each other in the Western and Eastern conference. The top teams from the Western and Eastern conference then play in an NBA All-Star final.

    NO MORE flashy razzle-dazzle rubbish. These teams are actually playing for something.

    NO MORE risk of players getting burnt out because they only play two 20-minute games (3 games if your team advances to the final, but that would be held the next day or much later in the evening giving players from those 2 teams time to recover).

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… NO MORE ALL-STAR SELECTION SNUBS!!!!!

  14. Buzzy says:

    It could only help things
    It seem most games are decided in the last few min anyway.

  15. harriethehawk says:

    Less time outs!

  16. Davante says:

    40 min games and same amount of timeouts,

  17. lbj says:

    48 minutes? 44 minutes? Heck give me a 12 minute game!

    It does not matter when you’re the king of the basketball world and the favorite son of Cleveland.

  18. Michael says:

    Will the other options like fewer team timeouts, adherence to timeout durations, network timeouts, less ads, reduce the time given to referees reviews (perhaps 24 seconds just like the shot clock), etc. also be given a trial? This will be the only way any adopted change will carry some credibility. Listening to the fans (via a referendum on available options) as well might not be a bad idea. They do it for the All Star balloting, why not for this?

  19. toudi says:

    Davide Chinellato comment is spot on!
    NBA is killing the bench with this idea! Do you think Durant will play less minutes?
    On the other hand less timeouts might actually help the nonstarters to see more action..

  20. Nicx says:

    What makes great players great? One thing is: Staying healthy. But more and more talented players seem like not being able taking the permanent pressure on their bodies. So: cut down the number of games, not the minutes. Cutting down the minutes wouldn’t help cause the coaches prefer the best players on the court. As a consequence the role players would sit more on the bench and Durants, Bryants and Georges keep getting hurt.

  21. Daniel says:

    I’m not sure what the real reason is they would want to reduce minutes in the games. Is it they length of time it takes to watch or is it the time the players have to endure. Reducing it for the players seems untrue to me because it means most likely (as said above) the bench players will get less time. Coaches will play their stars as much as they can handle. If they can’t play as much as they like in a regular length game then use the bench players more. I’d like the games to be longer so they have to use more of the bench players. Hockey uses four lines of forwards and three lines of defense but in basketball they barely get to two full squads most nights. I love basketball but often it comes across as a me first sport rather than a team centered sport. Or at least it seems to only be about a few specific guys and everyone else is treated as not very important. I also have to agree with the overwhelming opinion that the best way to shorten the overall time is not to have less minutes but manage the end of games better. Nobody likes how the close games end. The way the game is played changes drastically near the end compared to most sports because of time outs and foul shots. That is the biggest problem and they can’t solve that by reducing the minutes played.

  22. Luke says:

    I say keep the 48-minute game, but yeah, lose some timeouts, and actually enforce their lengths. Also, shorten the preseason. Too many players are getting injured just during the preseason. The players don’t like it, the coaches don’t like it, and the fans don’t like it. I say don’t shorten the regular season, because then it’d be impossible to compare team records across decades. I’d say spread out the games a little more, but I’m not sure that’s possible. But definitely don’t do anything like the lockout season again. That was insane, and there were way too many injuries.

    • Luke says:

      Also, this might wreck stats a little, but keep the clock running after a basket. That would speed up the game a little, and encourage a faster tempo.

  23. Mark says:

    This “experiment” is curiously soon after the announcement of a squillion dollar TV deal…

  24. LakersTilliDie says:

    Like stated above, unless this change will happen across the board with ticket prices, shot clock, timeouts, etc …i dont want to see it happen. I think 48 minutes are good, but I dont like seeing players always hurt either… if anything reduce to anywhere between 60-72 games to eliminate so many back to backs

  25. Anthony says:

    I just think that the Boston and Brooklyn will play like its a normal 12 minute quarter. how many points would 2 teams score if they were combined in 1 minute? Maybe like 6 points? not a big difference

  26. ryan says:

    I agree with the notion keeping the games at 48 mins, it is a good time, but like many of the writers said the timeouts are the biggest problem. At what should be the most exciting part of the game in the 4th quarter, repeated timeouts bring the game to a screeching halt. Everybody i know who does not watch a lot of basketball, the timeouts and dragged out 4th quarter are their biggest compaints about the nba, not the gameplay time.

  27. Nick says:

    I hate the idea of cutting time off the games. When I paid money for the experience of and NBA game I want the whole thing. Cutting 4 minutes wont save players who play lots of minutes. Unless they are playing 48 minutes they will still get 35-38 minutes a game, the only ones to change that will be coaches. I don’t know why the NBA is in such a hurry to get rid of the fans. The idea of changing free throws and cutting minutes seems to put a push on rush basketball, and not on good basketball that is fun to watch. Leave it at 48, cut a timeout (or god forbid a TV time out!) and talk with coaches about player management if that’s what they are worried about.

  28. Armelius says:

    Nothing wrong in experimenting
    However I dont believe that higher playing time or the number of games increase injury risk
    The more physical, athletic play and probably excessive supplement use push the bodies of players to the limits
    Legends of the league were known to play 48 mins in average without serious injuries and
    even if injured recovered without most of the surgical repairs and medical knowledge of today.
    Reduce number of timeouts, decrease time for free throws (7 seconds enough) , decrease advertising time ( yeah right !)
    If you had seen an euro game youd know they can be horrendeous because lack of time often elevates pressure and reduces shot percentage. Leave the 48 mins, 82 games please.

  29. nasus says:

    I liked Kevin McHale’s response Monday night when a reporter asked his opinion on this topic — he said he thought the 48-minute game was fine like it is, but if they really wanted to shorten the game, they could reduce the number of blown whistles!