NBA to ease travel demands by lengthening duration of Finals
The NBA continued its quest to help alleviate the toll a burdensome travel schedule can have on the league’s players by announcing a revamped schedule format for the NBA Finals.
The league will abandon the traditional Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday format and instead will ensure that there are two days off whenever teams travel between cities.
The Finals will stick with the 2-2-1-1-1 format, but with the built-in days off between travel, the championship series, which is slated to start on Thursday, June 3, could be stretched out over a time span of over two weeks, with a potential Game 7 not occurring until Sunday, June 19.
Some could reasonably argue that 17 days for a seven-game series is entirely too long, absurd even, especially given how many fans already bemoan the arduous and drawn-out nature of the NBA’s seemingly endless postseason.
On the other hand, the league has pledged to make the 82-game season less onerous on the players, with slightly fewer back-to-back games and a dramatic drop in instances of four games played in five nights — 27 instances represents a 61 percent decrease from the 2014-15 season.
“Our focus was really on players’ rest and recuperation,” NBA vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe told ESPN. “We’ve worked hard with the teams, the broadcast partners and the venues to get the overall travel down and more time between games.”
Still, an NBA Finals that possibly could last 17 days? That seems a bit much. But by doing so, the NBA could potentially have two Finals games played on Sunday nights, a veritable ratings bonanza for the league.