December 8, 2011
Kids won't be all right
Hmm. Let's see: Two weeks to get ready, room for about 10 practices the entire season if you don't practice after back-to-backs or after road games, and barely enough time for scouting reports on opponents to dry before they become obsolete.
No, the kids will not be all right. This will be a season for those who have been there, seen that, done that.
While fresh legs could mean plenty, the lockout-shortened NBA season in 2011-12 likely will be more of a head game, nightly chess matches of how to get through the 48 minutes with enough left in reserve to move on to the next immediate challenge.
This will not be the year of the rookie. Neophytes need not apply.
The modified schedule still favors talent.
Sure, it would be nice in back-to-back-to-backs to have a club of young legs, a cross-country team. But I'll take experienced trotters over thoroughbreds.
All you need to know is that Dallas won the title with a point guard named Kidd, who's 38. The Mavs beat the Heat in the Final, the tortoise over the hare.
And who wouldn't still favor the creaky Celtics over the whippersnapper Clippers?
You might need to also examine the experience and job security of the coaches — the ones who control the playing time.
I'll take the youngsters in a sprint, the veterans in a marathon — and the most talent all the time.
Veteran teams benefit
Los Angeles Times
It's pretty much a wash. It's fewer games, but they're jammed into an incredibly compressed time frame.
The modified schedule probably does favor teams that have had their cores together for a few years with entrenched coaching staffs. Teams such as the Lakers that are learning new offensive and defensive schemes under a new coach will not have as much practice time between games to figure things out.
Lakers coach Mike Brown said he wouldn't try to overwhelm players with too much too soon and would continue to implement his schemes well after the season opener. The Lakers can only hope they're not in a deep hole by then.
It's going to be a blur
The compressed schedule will be a slog for all teams, but look for the experienced ones to navigate it most efficiently.
Here's why: All legs will be tired. But those players who know how to take care of their bodies, who know how to turn practice days into classroom off days, who know the team's plays and system will succeed.
This is where teams like the Bulls can shine. Their entire core is back. The veteran coaching staff knows how to make the most value of off days. So deep teams will benefit.
It's going to be a blur. Many players who lived the 50-game season in 1998-99 still claim it's the worst basketball they've played. But it doesn't have to be beautiful in this season, just efficient.
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