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And Another Thing

Associated Press
The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) and Chris Bosh (1) during the South Florida All Stars Classic basketball game in Miami on Saturday.

Handwringers Anonymous

OK, so I know part of ESPN's mission statement is "Thou Must Beat America Over The Head With The NBA, Like, 24/7." But it was still highly amusing to hear all of the Worldwide Leader's on-air talent retiring to their fainting couches at the news that David Stern had canceled the first two weeks of the regular season.

This will have a serious impact on the fan base, the general sentiment went.

Oh, piffle.

Look: Canceling the first two weeks of the season will have no impact whatsoever on anything, because the only people who watch the NBA in November are hoop nerds wearing throwback Wes Unseld jerseys. As a matter of fact, I'm kind of hoping they don't start the season until about February.

That would not only give them time to play a streamlined, more functional 50-or-so game schedule, it would start the season at just about the time the average fan starts paying attention to it. There's nothing wrong with the NBA that lopping off about 30 games would fix. Do that, and the games would actually become meaningful again; as it is now, the casual fan doesn't even begin to pay attention to the NBA until Christmas. And that's only because the networks promote the hell out of the Christmas Day games as if they mean something, when in actuality they're just another couple of indistinguishable games four months out from when NBA games start to matter.

So I'm rooting for a prolonged lockout, because the more games that get lost the better the product will be. And ultimately, that will mean a lot more to the NBA than whatever angst Wes Unseld Guy is feeling right now.

Ben Smith's blog.