Will the Strike-shortened NBA schedule benefit young or veteran teams?

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Answered by: Aaron, An Expert in the NBA Basketball Category
The National Basketball Association recently ended its lengthy lockout. Nearly two months of the 2011 and 2012 NBA season was cancelled as owners and players could not agree on a new CBA. To make matters worse, the new strike-shortened NBA schedule has created a bit controversy around the league. Commissioner David Stern cancelled all regular season games until December 25, almost two months of play, but chose to only cancel 16 actual games. Stern choose to create a condensed strike-shortened NBA schedule that will surely play into the hands of younger teams.

NBA teams relying on veterans such as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers must have cringed when the schedule was released. The strike-shortened 66 game schedule will pack more games into a shorter time frame than any other season since the league expanded to 30 teams. This means more back-to-back games, more games each week, and a two game preseason. Older teams such as the aforementioned Celtics and Lakers will surely be hindered by their aging superstars. Kevin Garnett in Boston has been especially injury prone as of late. He has missed a combined 48 games over the last three years, including all of the 2008-2009 playoffs.

With NBA players being locked out of team facilities since the end of last season, it is hard to believe that every individual player was able to keep up a professional work out schedule. This year many experts are going away from perennial picks such as the Spurs, Lakes, Celtics, and Suns. The same experts are hyping up young teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies, both of which won a playoff series last year, with Memphis upsetting the top-ranked San Antonio Spurs. Personally, this seems to be a good bet. All factors point to this being the year the youth rises in both the West and the East.

Stamina and conditioning will play a bigger role than ever in this years NBA season. How individual players spent their offseason might very well determine the fate of many teams. Those who established a rigorous workout schedule will be better prepared for the tests of a strike-shortened season. Players who slacked off during their extended vacation could lack the stamina and conditioning to perform night in and night out. Competition for jobs within the league is as fierce as ever, but with the salaries players are paid it is not hard to imagine what distractions they could afford.

Instinctively, many teams with a young core group of players have filled in their rosters with veterans. The Chicago Bulls added seasoned power forward Carlos Boozer last offseason. Boozer partnered with 22 year-old MVP Derrick Rose to take the Bulls all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. This year the "baby" Bulls have their sights set on no less than the NBA Championship.

With the 2011-12 season set to tip-off this week, some aging teams are looking to squeeze out another winning season. On the other side of the coin, younger teams are ready to stake their claims as one of the leagues perennial powerhouses. Only time will tell, and with a strike-shortened schedule, time is of the essence.

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