Lockout Lag

Last week’s Mavericks-Lakers showdown that resulted in a 73-70 win for the purple and gold pretty much epitomizes what the lockout shortened NBA season has been like so far. The players, coaches, and all personnel were deprived of the never exciting but proving to be incredibly useful preseason and training camp. When finally Derek Fisher and David Stern agreed to begin the 2011-2012 campaign on Christmas Day, many players reported out of shape, mentally unprepared, or in the case of the Washington Wizards, decided to report at all.

You won’t find a single complaint from a basketball junkie like me. I am just happy to see the league returning, the players back to doing their “jobs,” and the continuation of ESPN NBA.Com Fantasy Basketball.

But there is no dribbling around the sloppy play that has been displayed through the first few weeks of the season. With the exception of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Indiana Pacers (yeah), the obvious effects of having no major prior interaction with fellow teammates in practice is apparent all over the league. Or maybe it’s just a defensive year…

…It’s not. Never will be.

NFL fans have been lobbying to reduce the preseason schedule for years, but the results on the hardwood around the NBA this season show that even the professional athletes can and do benefit from a little more practice. Except Allen Iverson. Typo… Especially Allen Iverson. (See: 2008-2010…there’s a reason you won’t need to extend your search into 2011)

Since the season began almost two months late and a team like the Mavericks for example missed a total of 27 games spanning from November 1 st to December 23 rd , it seems logical that the NBA season that usually exercises an 82 game schedule would trim down 27 games to a 55 game schedule. Logic? Please… Money > Logic

Outside of the crazy, illogical, catastrophic handling of the Chris Paul trade situation, New Orleans Hornets General Manager David Stern decided all 30 teams will play a 66 game schedule, which includes every team going through a back-to-back-to-back in three consecutive nights.

Players like former NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki have publicly expressed their discontent with this format and its negative consequences on older – but wiser – but older teams like the Dallas Mavericks. The way the schedule is put together definitely benefits fresh legs against legs with mileage. However the depth of an older team like the Mavs or the San Antonio Spurs can potentially offset the wear and tear on the bodies of the team’s superstars, like Nowitzki or Tim Duncan.

The revised schedule also shuffles a few important dates to remember. The All-Star Game in Orlando, Florida will be February 26; in 2011 it was February 20. The trading deadline is March 15; in 2011 it was February 24. Finally, the All-Star Game in Orlando, Florida will be February 26. Finally, the season will end April 26; in 2011 the season ended April 13.

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