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October 31, 2014 Updates

But Young has stayed away from the NBA. He says many of the top sports scientists feel that, due to the demanding schedule and management's narrow-mindedness about player fatigue, working in the NBA ends up being little more than a fool's errand. "I haven't heard great things about the NBA as a place for sports scientists to work," Young says. "It's very difficult to get things done. A lot of the sports science guys I know in the league are trying to leave. They find themselves placed in positions where they're glorified stretching coaches." ESPN.com

Making matters worse is the sleep deprivation that comes with traveling overnight. The health risks are real: studies have shown that going 24 hours without sleep has the same impairment effect of a 0.10 blood alcohol level, which is considered to be legally drunk. The same effect is seen after several nights of having as little as four hours of sleep. "With all those games and all that travel, you're constantly recovering," Young says. "Unless you're cycling lineups, which I've never heard of, guys just don't get a chance to recover." ESPN.com

Young suggests the NBA adopt a 60-game schedule that eliminates back-to-backs entirely and cuts down on travel significantly. From Young's perspective, teams should play no more than two or three games a week. "That'd be very light for the NBA," Young says. "The performance dropoff is pretty steep as you play more, and likelihood of injury goes way up. If you are the team that played three games, vs. the team that played two, your likelihood of injury is much higher, and your likelihood of winning is lower." ESPN.com

October 22, 2014 Updates

NBA stars LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki reacted to the league's decision to schedule a 44-minute game saying it's the regular season, not the games, that should be shortened. Is that a widespread opinion among players? We asked 28 NBAers to find out. Result: They are split on the debate with 42.9 percent saying regular season should stay at its usual 82 games and 57.1 suggesting that's too much. HoopsHype

October 21, 2014 Updates

The National Basketball Assn. is considering rescheduling some marquee basketball games in order to grow audiences in China. The possible move emerged as the organization unveiled a multi-year partnership with China’s Ministry of Education to develop sports educational in China. The education deal is expected to provide enhanced fitness and basketball training to at least 3 million school and college students by 2017. Variety.com

October 20, 2014 Updates
October 19, 2014 Updates
October 15, 2014 Updates

The NBA will experiment with a 44-minute game Sunday when the Nets play host to the Celtics "to examine the flow" of a shorter contest. "It's interesting," Thibodeau said. "I'm curious myself how it plays out. In some ways, the technology (we have) has been great but it also has prolonged the game. "(Commissioner) Adam Silver is very open-minded. There's part of me that likes (the idea) a lot. And there's also a part of me that thinks about the tradition of the game and the records and the history. That's where there's conflict. But the intent is good." Chicago Tribune

October 9, 2014 Updates

However, these exhibitions are less about competition and more about marketing. The NBA has embraced international expansion, with the league even considering earlier tip-offs to accommodate fans abroad. The NBA is also continuing to stage regular-season games abroad (this season in Mexico and England) in an effort to provide international fans the chance to see its stars in person. Though these trips force teams to lose home-court advantage, they provide ample opportunity to connect with fans abroad. The NBA’s international fan base is exploding; the 2014 Finals were broadcast to 215 countries and in 47 languages. Individual teams and players have made extra efforts to connect with foreign fans, perhaps none more successfully than Kobe Bryant in China. The Fields of Green

Fewer scouts watch international games than NCAA games, making these exhibitions especially important to international players. In fact, a slew of athletes turned their performances this summer in the FIBA World Cup into NBA interest. These games are especially vital for Americans who found playing time abroad after being unable to make the leap into the NBA. Case in point: Alba Berlin’s game-winner against the Spurs came from James McLean, a forward from Xavier. The Fields of Green

October 6, 2014 Updates
September 12, 2014 Updates

Scott plans to feature Bryant more in the post and along the elbows in a system featuring pick-and-roll sets and elements of the Princeton offense. Scott downplayed concerns over the Lakers struggling to learn that system under Mike Brown two years ago, saying his version of the Princeton offense bodes similar to the triangle system the Lakers once ran under Phil Jackson. Yet, Scott cautioned he will handle Bryant with care, including sitting him out of select practices and possibly back-to-back games. “I know how stubborn he is and he knows how stubborn I am,” Scott said. “There’s going to be times we’re butting heads. But it’s all because we want to win.” Los Angeles Daily News

What if Bryant checks himself into the game? “I might have to tackle him and hold him back,” Scott joked. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do that anymore. But I’ll have to get one of the coaches to come with me and grab him and hold him back. I know how competitive he is. But for me, I’m looking out for him.” Los Angeles Daily News

September 11, 2014 Updates

Czeisler was getting Silver up to speed on some harrowing details about the effects of sleep deprivation on athletes. With its numerous back-to-backs, the NBA is creating a dangerous situation in which its players might be showing up to games with the impairment of someone who is legally drunk. All from not getting enough z's. ESPN.com

This was just one of the many alarming scientific findings that the sleep doctor had divulged just an hour earlier when he gave his own Sloan talk to a roomful of attendees that included team executives and national media. Silver, who was prepping for Gladwell's interview, had not been present for Czeisler's stern recommendation to the league: "Personally, I'm very much hoping that the new NBA commissioner eliminates back-to-back road games," Czeisler said during his talk moderated by ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz. "It's a disservice to the fans to have one of the teams so degraded because there's no way structurally that we can ensure the players get enough sleep if they're on a trip like that." ESPN.com

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