Why the proposed NBA schedule is a win for Golden State

The Deets is a weekday morning dose of commentary — delivered at 7 a.m. — from sports columnist Dieter Kurtenbach that wraps up everything important in the world of sports and looks forward to another crazy day ahead.


Like a COVID-positive Justin Turner just walking back onto the field to celebrate with his teammates after the Dodgers’ World Series clincher, I wonder if anyone or anything is going to stop this from happening. [Want my full take on that and everything else that happened in Game 6 Tuesday? Subscribe!]

The NBA wants to get back to its regular schedule. I would argue it’s an imperative. There might be some value to a July or August NBA Finals, but the league will not thrive if they have to play their best games in September and October.

That’s NFL season. And college football season. And the baseball playoffs are there, too. Who knows what’s going on with the NHL, they might be hanging out in Super September, too. The company might be fun for sports fans, but for the NBA, it’s bad business.

And so the effort is on to re-start the NBA season in December.

The proposal is such: a 72-game regular season, starting Dec. 22, with training camps opening on the first of that month. If fans can be in the stands for games, great — but let’s be honest, it’ll probably be a few months before that’s a reasonable thought, so the NBA isn’t going to wait. Starting the season in 2020 gives the league a chance to return to normal (82-games, — of whatever it wants normal to be) for the 2021-2022 season.

Personally, I’m all for it. Is it safe, fair, or reasonable to the teams that just played deep into the playoffs? Nope.

Do I care? Nope. I might be getting NBA basketball back in a few short weeks.

The Warriors must be giddy, too.

Yes, the accelerated timeline will force the Dubs to make faster-than-expected decisions after the Nov. 18 draft — instead of a few weeks, they’ll have a few days to fill out their roster before training camp opens — but Golden State had ample time to prepare, so I’m sure they’ll manage.

And they’ll have an advantage over their peers, too. They have to like that.

As one of eight teams that were mercifully not invited to the NBA bubble in central Florida, the Warriors are exceptionally rested. Their chief competition in the Pacific Division, the champion Lakers, are not.

If the NBA season starts in December, my bet is that LeBron James and Anthony Davis take off most of the first 10 to 15 games of the campaign. Sure, they’ll play on Opening Night, Christmas, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day — They’re good ambassadors of the game and those days that often bring the NBA their best non-playoff viewerships, worth, according to the Associated Press, up to $500 million in revenue to the league. But outside of those three games, they’ll be load managing at their Brentwood mansions. It’s not like folks will be paying big money to see them in person.

And the other supposed juggernaut in Los Angeles, the Clippers? Well, their offseason has already been chaotic with the firing of Doc Rivers, and they have some serious decisions to make on their roster. Add a truncated training camp into the mix and the given standard of load management from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the mess could become even hotter.

Meanwhile, the Warriors will have a genuine excitement to return to the court after three-quarters of a year away from competitive action. They’ll have something to prove this upcoming season, too: The Warriors’ core can still compete with the best in the league. This is still a title-contending team.

Yes, the West is vast and challenging, but Warriors — even with early-season rust — might be sitting pretty against both L.A. teams come the time the All-Star Game would normally be played. And those are the teams — not the Rockets (who might make big moves this offseason), Jazz, Nuggets, or Mavericks — the Dubs should be measuring themselves against in 2021.

So after months of doldrums here in the Bay — after far too many conversations with far too many people about a bad draft and trade exceptions — I say bring it on. I’m over waiting to see what this Warriors team has in store for us moving forward. And if that means their competition has to suffer a bit, I’m sure we can all agree that’s not much of an issue for us up here.


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