Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thoughts about FIBA’s new competitions calendar

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Thoughts about FIBA’s new competitions calendar
by rick olivares

I must admit that the new FIBA Competition System and Calendar is intriguing. FIBA’s Communications Director Patrick Koller and Sports and Competitions Director Predrag Bogosavljev gave the following reasons for the change:

Low visibility for the NT that plays only in the summer time
Limited number of countries able to host major NT events
Almost no official NT games at home
Significant work load for star players leading to refusal to play for NT
Basketball is the only Olympic team sport without NT window during club season
The economic viability of the existing basketball calendar was at risk

Almost immediately, one can infer that the new schedule will bump into the club competitions throughout the world. Before we discuss that, let me offer my opinion on each point.

Low visibility — True.

Limited number of countries able to host - True.

Almost no official NT Games at home - True.
The home and away series is fine and it is good for countries to see their national team. 

Bogosavljev pointed out that the German people never saw Dirk Nowitzki play in real FIBA competitions (they actually did once during EuroBasket 2015 where Germany hosted Group B play in Berlin. Unfortunately, Nowitzki and company never advanced past the group stage with a 1-4 record. 

Also consider these points. Do all countries have first-rate facilities? Can they guarantee safety and security? You play home and away games in your continent and that also means different time zones and that is going to mess up one’s body clock for a few days. Unlike football where matches are played at least once a week, for basketball it is different. They could play two or even three games in a week.

Significant work load for stars leading to their refusal to play for the NT - True.
However, won’t we see the same with players being pulled out for four playdates? Each series will take what -- six days? We were told that for one home and away series, teams can line-up 24 players in their roster then change that for the next series. That hurts chemistry already and play. FIBA said that the NBA will not release their players so this point doesn’t work at all. And there’s no word if the Euroleagues or the PBA will likewise release players. For the latter, there’s the return of the Gilas Cadets program.

Basketball is the only Olympic sport without a NT window - True. 
Yes, but so what? Does everyone need to copy FIFA’s calendar?

The economic viability is at risk - How so? I find this strange. Are basketball federations given money to operate ala FIFA? Then this is all about the money. More games means more money in terms of hosting and broadcast rights. Not to mention team expenditures.

I took a look at some of the professional tournaments and the games they play in a season. Here’s how it looks like.

NBA - minimum 82; maximum 100
Euro teams (domestic including Euroleague) - minimum 34; maximum 60
CBA - minimum 38; maximum 55
PBA - minimum 29; maximum 70

Of course, all this is moot if leagues and their clubs are willing to release the players. Save for the CBA, all the other leagues run for about eight months. In football, during the international games, league play halts for a week. I don’t think that given the length of the basketball club season they are willing to extend it by another few weeks.

So will we see the best players? Am not sure. It remains to be seen. Nevertheless, I hope this all works out.

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