NBA Lockout: Which Teams Would A Shortened Season Help Or Hurt?

Tuesday, July 5th 2011, 9:29 pm
By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – With all the lockout drama going on, the main thing that fans are still continuing to wonder is whether they will miss any games.

Even the thought of a shortened season seems like a "loss" for NBA fans at this point.

But the real issue with a shortened season is which teams it would benefit the most.

The difference between a full 82-game season and a 50-game season, such as the one during the 1998 NBA lockout, is astronomical.

If this past season's playoffs started after 50 games instead of 82, the Mavericks and Thunder would have met in the opening round 4/5 matchup instead of in the Western Conference Finals. Talk about a tough draw.

The Memphis Grizzlies, who became one of the biggest stories of the NBA playoffs by knocking off the top-seeded Spurs, would not have even made the postseason.

The "veteran" Spurs and Lakers were in the top two spots in the West and were on a sizzling pace after 50 games. If the playoffs started at that point, would they have continued to sizzle instead of fizzle?

It's impossible to predict how a shortened season would affect various teams around the league, but there are both good and bad aspects to a potential short season for a young Thunder team.

The Bad

The Mavs' Jason Kidd is 38 years old, and when asked about the prospect of a shortened season, he half-jokingly admitted that it would help him in his old age to have fewer games before the playoffs start. The reality is, for an aging Western Conference, that could hold true for many of the teams.

The Thunder had a big advantage because they were young and didn't get tired, outrunning and outhustling older and more tired teams toward the end of the season and in the playoffs.

It seemed that some teams, such as the Spurs and Lakers, were never very healthy. And Oklahoma City was among the healthiest teams in the league.

There's no doubt that some of the oldest superstars in the league such as Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant and their seasoned squads would benefit from a shortened season.

The Good

There is absolutely no contact allowed between NBA executives and coaches and their players during a lockout. Players don't have access to the same practice facilities, equipment and trainers that they normally do.

Good thing OKC's offseason workouts last season didn't take place in a practice facility.

Instead, newly crowned FIBA World Champ Kevin Durant and his teammates piled into the back of pickup trucks and went and ran hills at a local neighborhood park, high school-style.

When there are no coaches to run the show, it's up to players to take charge and up to the rest of the players to join in.

The young Thunder squad has been described as a family and they stick together – even when they are residing in separate parts of the country.

You can count on guys like Durant, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed to take the necessary steps to keep their team working hard, even when the coaches aren't there to do the same.

Can the same be said for teams like the Lakers and Heat, who already have more than enough distractions on their plate without a lockout?