PHOENIX — Raising his right arm high in the air, Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek gave a big thumbs down to the thought that a shorter game may be a better game for the NBA.
“I don’t like the 44-minute game,” he said, before the Suns tipped off against the San Antonio Spurs in a preseason game on Thursday at US Airways Center.
The Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics will play a 44-minute preseason game on Sunday as the league tests a format that features fewer minutes and fewer mandatory timeouts.
Rather than 12-minute quarters, there will be 11-minute quarters, shaving four minutes off the NBA’s standard 48-minute game. In addition, there will be two mandatory timeouts per quarter.
Currently, there are two mandatory timeouts in the first and third quarters and three in the second and fourth quarters.
“I don’t know why you need to change it. The game is fine the way it is,” Hornacek said. “We have 15 guys on a roster, 13 of them can dress, so if you need to get more guys time, you have guys on the team that can do that. It becomes a little bit more strategy.”
The idea behind the experiment, aside from shortening the overall length of the game, was perhaps fewer minutes may lead to fewer injuries; in other words keeping players–star players–healthier.
“My point was I think the star players may end up having to play more minutes because if the game is shortened, everything is more important,” said Hornacek, who first heard of the proposal at the recent coaches’ meeting. “Late first (quarter) to (the) five, six minute mark in the second (quarter) you usually sit that star guy and let him get a good rest. If the games are shorter, that rest becomes shorter and he may end up playing more.”
According to the league, a 44-minute game would add up to 328 less minutes over the course of an 82-game season, which would equal to about seven fewer games.
Right now no long-term changes are being considered, but shortening the game may be more realistic than shortening the schedule.
“Just keep it the same,” Hornacek said. “Play more guys, I guess, the Pop (Gregg Popovich) route.”