It's too long to quote the whole thing, and he makes a lot of other interesting observations. But I love his idea for next season's schedule.
Originally Posted by Bill Simmons
You're not going to believe this, but I spent waaaaaaaaaaay too much time trying to figure out something that will never actually happen. And here's the reality: It would be too radical for the NBA to launch on Christmas every year. At least right away. Which is why I'm offering the following plan …
- Starting next season, the NBA launches six days after Black Friday (this year: November 30, 2012) with a Thursday-night doubleheader on TNT. That way, the NBA avoids the baseball playoffs, college football's regular season and 75 percent of the NFL's regular season, drawing maximum eyeballs for opening week and using that next month to build up the storylines for Christmas Day.
- We play a 78-game regular season over the next 24 weeks, ending in mid-May (for 2012-13: Tuesday, May 14).
- To make up the revenue from those lost games, we launch my Entertaining as Hell Tournament — the top seven seeds in each conference make the playoffs, then the other 16 teams play a single-elimination tournament to "win" the no. 8 seeds. This would discourage tanking for lottery picks, reward late-bloomer teams and generate extra interest because, again, this tournament would be entertaining as hell. All 14 games would be televised — eight in Round 1, four in Round 2, then a doubleheader final at Madison Square Garden to decide the no. 8 seeds — over a week as the other 14 playoff teams regrouped and rested up.
- The EAH tournament runs for eight days (for 2012-13: May 16 through May 22), with the actual NBA playoffs starting on Saturday like always … only this time, it launches on Memorial Day weekend (for 2012-13: May 26).
- The playoffs run for eight-plus weeks through June and July, allowing the NBA to own the second half of June, July Fourth weekend and that super-dead sports week during baseball's All-Star break. Its only competition over that time: midseason baseball, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the Stanley Cup finals and summer movies.
- The Finals finishes one week after mid-July (for 2012-13: Game 7 of the Finals would be Tuesday, July 24); the NBA draft happens the following Tuesday (for 2012-13: July 31); then the free agent signing period kicks off one week later (for 2012-13: August 7).
Would the NBA — yes, the same league that's been notoriously afraid to take ANY chances over the past decade or so — ever shake things up that drastically? Probably not, although I wouldn't be shocked if they moved 2012's opening night to mid-November, then stretched the 2013 Finals through June — if only to give the league's superstars two extra weeks of rest after subjecting them to a shortened schedule and the Olympics just a month later. Regardless, that Christmas launch gave the 2011-12 season a little extra juice; it shouldn't be considered a fluke.
Of course, that wasn't the only reason this season has been so compelling. What are some of the other factors? You'll have to wait until Part 2 (coming Tuesday).