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The obvious reasons why Daryl Morey wants a shorter NBA season and playoff series

Daryl Morey

Daryl Morey

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is having a great week. First, he proves the basketball world wrong by sticking to his guns and pulling off a blockbuster deal that sent disgruntled star Ben Simmons to Brooklyn in exchange for his partner-in-crime James Harden. Most of the basketball world criticized Morey for failing to trade Ben Simmons during the summer. Still, Morey trusted his instincts and waited for the deal he always wanted to become available, proving to the world that his strategy was the right one. 

Morey wants a shorter regular season

In true Morey fashion, he continued to make bold statements like those he uttered in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, this time giving his opinion on the NBA schedule and how it paves the road to the NBA Finals.

"You're too timid, but you gotta go farther. I like 58. Every team plays every other team two times. The playoffs, I 100 percent agree that shorter is better." I would have it one-and-done, there's a reason, everyone, tunes into every game at huge ratings in the NFL. It is literally one-and-done. And the NCAA Tournament, in 63 games, gets more money than we do in our entire regular season." - Daryl Morey, Volume Sports.

The architect of the once-dominant Houston Rockets has a point, as the NBA has constantly struggled to generate significant interest around the regular season. The struggle comes from several factors, such as the imbalance between small and large market teams and the era of load management, which implies that players don't give it their best in the regular season if they're even on the floor for games. On top of that, the league's stringent health and safety protocols the past two years have teams and their fans wondering who will be available to play on any given night. Everyone has been asking themselves whether that is worth the price of admission or the time spent watching at home. The NFL is indeed more lucrative than the NBA, but the length of the season is not the issue. It's parity.

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In the NFL, each time has a chance to win the Super Bowl in any given year. Not many people foresaw Cincinnati and Los Angeles battling it out in the finals in a relatively healthy season for players in the NFL. However, it's hard to get predictions right because of parity, which leads to the same excitement that March Madness generates. So what is there an underlying reason for Morey's suggestion the other day? I think the history of the Philadelphia 76ers and newly acquired star James Harden suggest that there is.

There is a good reason why Morey wants a shorter season

Morey has put together one of the scariest tandems of all time and built a potentially-great team on both ends of the floor, worthy of contending for an NBA Championship. And while it may take Harden and Embiid some time to figure out how to coexist, they eventually will, and that is frightening for the rest of the NBA. The two stars are incredibly talented and rank amongst the most lethal offensive weapons in the game today. Still, both players have a history of being incapable of staying healthy to produce at the level their teams have needed them to deliver. 

Embiid's track record with injuries is significantly better as of late, but last season he was playing with a knee injury, which hampered his ability to be efficient on both ends of the floor. There is no universe wherein last year's Atlanta Hawks contain Embiid well enough to beat Philadelphia in a playoff series, even with Ben Simmons' struggles on the floor. Embiid may have figured out his injury woes this season, but with his size and usage rate, it's likely his window to perform at this level is not as wide as Philadelphia might like. Seven-footers have a history of breaking down relatively early in their careers; just ask Kristaps Porzingis and Anthony Davis.

On the other hand, Harden was an iron man in Houston, playing nearly every game during his time with the Rockets. However, James struggled with his health in Brooklyn, particularly with his hamstring issues aggravated by his heavier frame that seems to become more of a fixture with Harden as he advances in age. Harden is anything but a force on the defensive end, but his hamstring issues significantly negate his genius on the offensive side of the ball.

The reason for Morey's comments is very clear. He wants shorter seasons to give his superstars the best chance of being healthy enough for a deep playoff run, giving them a shot at Philadelphia's first NBA championship since 1983. Morey knows that if his stars can be healthy enough to perform at their best, very few teams can match them. Joel Embiid doesn't need to catch fire to win his team, and when Harden is himself, a bad shooting night only means that he will play the distributor's role to perfection. 

In today's NBA, teams shoot the ball so well that they can simply beat you on offense for four of seven games if they get hot. Morey wants to negate that, making sure that having Joel Embiid lording over the paint is an overwhelming advantage. I see what you're doing over there, Daryl, but I don't think it's going to fly. Unless, of course, you prove the whole basketball world wrong once again, like what you did in the Simmons-for-Harden deal.

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