Jusuf Nurkic suffered a compound leg fracture last night during the Portland Trail Blazer’s double-overtime game against the Brooklyn Nets. Due to this injury, Nurkic’s season, the best of his career (averaging career bests in points, rebounds, assists, and FG%), is now over and he will be sorely missed by the Blazers during the Playoffs that are now just two weeks away.
Although Nurkic’s injury is seemingly a freak accident as he landed on the foot of another player, fatigue could also be at the root of the injury.
We’ve seen fatigue be a large force in the NBA over the past decade as stars have been given games off purely for rest, while others suffer serious injury due to their workload on any given night. Prominent players like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, as well as others, have taken several games off throughout this season in order to prevent injury.
As well, veterans begin to feel the wear-and-tear that comes with playing in the NBA for several years, possibly shortening careers or making players less productive as they lose athleticism, speed, etc.
With that in mind, the time has come for the NBA to seriously consider shortening the amount of games in a season. With the amount of games being reduced, and the amount of days in between games increased, players can avoid injury and reduce wear-and-tear.
Fans of the NBA watch the games, buy the tickets and jerseys because they love the players, the stars. If fans’ favorite players are missing games because of rest or they got injured, either by a freak injury or from playing too many minutes, fans are less inclined to watch.
By reducing the amount of games, the NBA can better secure players’ health and therefore maintain or even increase ratings and ticket sales. Stars have lost entire seasons due to injury (Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick Rose, and Gordon Hayward, just to name a few) and the risk for these serious, possibly career-altering injuries is reduced by there being less games in a season.
As well, with an 82-game schedule, certain games mean more than others and it is clear to see that teams take games off mentally, losing in a blowout to a team that they should have beaten easily or even playing poorly over a multiple-game stretch. There is room for teams to take games off and not put in much effort as they can make up for it by winning their next few games.
If there are less games in a season, each game has a little more value. Increasing the stakes makes both teams and fans more invested, much like the NFL whose teams only play 16 games a year. With the NFL, every game counts, there is not much room for error.
With fans being more invested, they will tune into more games, buy tickets more often, and the overall viewership of the NBA will grow. With teams being more invested, they will compete harder, making for more entertaining games night in and night out.
If players are healthier, careers are extended, and games have more value, that can only better the NBA whose goal should be to create the best form of entertainment for their fans as possible.