Blogtable: What’s the best number of preseason games?

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.


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> Adam Silver hinted last week that we could see a reduced preseason schedule soon. What’s the right number of preseason games for an NBA team?

David Aldridge, TNT analystI won’t be a smart aleck and say zero. Teams can get the work in they need for their squad with 2-4 games, max. 

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Four. That’s plenty. We’ve seen the league get prepped with just two tune-up games coming out of lockouts, and I don’t recall players and coaches griping about the ones that got away back then. Four preseason games would provide enough game exposures for everybody to get their work in, yet free up anywhere from a week to 10 days of time that could be sprinkled through the regular season to loosen the schedule for added rest. Way overdue change.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Two to three, and I’m leaning toward the lower end. As the league gets younger and the 82-game schedule remains the same, there is scant time during the season for coaches to actually teach and coach philosophies and fundamentals in practices. Keep the 28-day training camp, but use it for real training and stop wasting time on traveling and playing meaningless exhibitions.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Five, maybe six. Count me among the vast majority in favor of reducing the number of exhibitions, but let’s not forget they have value. Players need some run just because and especially if they are coming back from an injury, coaches need time to make roster decisions and front offices need a body of work before a ruling that could end a player’s career. If you get down to, say, four games, that might not be enough bad basketball to reach important conclusions and get ready for the regular season.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: The fewer games, the better. How about 3? Thirty and 40 years ago, NBA players needed training camp and exhibition games to whip into shape. Nowadays, players are fitter, more aware of their diets and are on the court for a good portion of the summer. They don’t need preseason as much, and exhibition games are only important for the one or two players trying to make the roster.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Four games sounds good to me. That’s one per week, allowing for less travel, more practice time, a few more days off, and fewer (or no) absences from the league’s best players.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Five is plenty and I’d be willing to see that number shrink to as few as three or four. I’m a fan of the NBA spreading the love to places where folks don’t normally see the game live and in person (I once covered a preseason game in South Dakota, it was an experience I’ll never forget). It’s always fun seeing the reaction of kids who are seeing these guys in the flesh for the first time. But I understand the grind that comes with an 82-game marathon season. It’s a beast. And anything that can be done to alleviate some of that physical stress on all involved certainly makes sense.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Many coaches prefer a limited schedule of four exhibition games. But I’m going to add at least one more game on behalf of Mark Cuban, who sees positive returns from creating minutes for young players as well as for his management staff to work out the snags in their game presentation. In addition, think about the opportunity for teams to visit communities in their markets – the Raptors have played throughout Canada this month. So let’s go with a goal of five or six preseason games per team.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog People who are upset about the number of preseason games clearly need to get involved in a fantasy draft or find some other form of entertainment. The thing that’s really interesting to me is that complaining about too many games doesn’t really give credit to the actual NBA coaches, who (allegedly) understand how to manage minutes and not wear out their key players. Do I want the regular season to get here as soon as possible? Sure! But it’s also the appetizers that makes the entree taste so great.

One Comment

  1. Eugene says:

    4 or less. It’s such a long season anyway.