The NBA has made changes to the NBA Finals in an attempt to alleviate players of travel burdens, according to ESPN.com.
Finals games are no longer limited to being played only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The new format will give teams more time to rest in between games whenever they have to travel to another city. Instead of only having one day to rest after making the trip from one city to the other, players will now have two days off. The league announced these changes on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
The 2016 NBA Finals will be the first Finals series to experience the changes. The series starts on Thursday, June 2. It will conclude on Sunday, June 19 if the series reaches seven games.
If the old format were still in place, the 2016 NBA Finals would conclude on Thursday, June 16 if the series reached seven games. The new format is going to give the last two teams standing three more days total to compete for a championship this upcoming season.
When the NBA abandoned the 2-3-2 format for the Finals in favor of the 2-2-1-1-1 format, an extra day of travel had to be inserted between Game 6 and Game 7. Now, however, players need not worry about that; they will get to rest a bit longer than they have been able to before after touching down in a new city.
The extended Finals schedule is just the latest in a series of recent changes that the league has been implementing in order to give its players more time to rest throughout the season. Other changes include having fewer back-to-back games during the regular season and having an extended All-Star break.
NBA vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe had the following to say via ESPN.com:
“We’ve worked hard with teams, the broadcast partners and the venues to get the overall travel down and more time between games.”
With the Finals set to take place over an extended period of time, title contenders should be better able to endure the grind of a long NBA season. The adjustment is sure to be appreciated.
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