LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP) – The first exhibition games for the NBA recovery will go a little faster than usual.
The NBA is fine-tuning the rules for these initial games, with 10-minute quarters instead of the usual 12 minutes. The change is for several reasons – among them, not wanting to tax players too much after spending more than four months without games, and because some teams do not yet have their full roster at Walt Disney World due to the coronavirus and ‘other problems.
The change will only apply to the first exposure for the teams; their second and third exhibition games at Disney will use standard timing. All teams should play three shows.
“It’s a different situation,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said on Saturday. “In all areas, really. … I think there is some latitude to do different things.
The exhibits begin with a four-game streak on Wednesday and run through July 28. Plans call for all 33 exhibits to be televised by a combination of local, national, NBA TV, or NBA League Pass.
“I think it is done simply by trying to prioritize player safety,” said Orlando coach Steve Clifford of the first shorter exposure. “I think most teams are like us, where everyone feels fair and the guys are not in the type of condition they would normally be in a training camp situation.
The league is still working on some details for the first few games, even if there is a need for teams to be given the option of wearing training uniforms or equipment. Most teams on Saturday still planned to wear their usual regular-season uniforms for all three shows – the new jerseys with a social justice message won’t make their debut until the standings that matter begin on July 30.
Other changes for exhibition games may include the use of more than three referees in a rotating system, although this also remains under discussion.
The players had apparently not been informed that the first exhibitions would go faster.
“I don’t know about that yet,” said Chris Paul, Oklahoma City goalie, president of the National Basketball Players Association. “Then I’ll find out. “
The shows will be played like normal games – score and stats will be kept, and it will be a stroke of luck for the league stats teams who have been hired to work for three months at Disney to fix system issues.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said he had a different take on typical preseason games. For the first time, he’s speaking with the coaches of the teams the Heat will face – Luke Walton of Sacramento and Quin Snyder of Utah – to see if there are any specific situations these clubs want to work on in these games.
Spoelstra simply ran into Snyder in the lobby of a Disney hotel and from there the idea of one team helping another in the exhibits was born. The Heat and Jazz will not play in a classification match and will not be able to meet in a game that counts at Disney before the NBA Finals.
“You have to accelerate so much before you get to this eight-game regular season. … We’re going to approach it that way and probably play everyone available, but definitely work on some things and do a little bit of evaluation too, ”said Spoelstra.
Exhibits will be helpful in breaking up the monotony of practice, Denver coach Michael Malone said, but stressed that players’ health will come before anything else in these games.
“The # 1 thing for me is being able to get through those three games healthy and not put the guys in a position where they are overworked, playing too many minutes and getting injured,” said Malone. “I think the vast majority of the 22 teams will approach it the same way.”
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