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82 Games - About Twenty Too Many?

The Rotowire NBA crew frequently talks about the high "abandon rate" in fantasy NBA leagues. Too many teams in too many leagues are left to wither on the vine as owners get distracted by March Madness or spring training... or simply give up hope when they fall too far out of the money.

(That reminds me... did I remember to bench Tony Parker in that one league? Be right back.)

Where was I? Right. Not paying attention through late February and early March. It's bad. Dead teams make life more difficult for the teams that are still competing -- they make important players into non-factors, and they can throw the standings in percentage categories all to hell.

But here's the thing -- can we really blame fantasy players for losing interest? It seems a fair number of NBA players and teams are guilty of the same crime. And I'm not even talking about dreadful squads like the Knicks, Nets or Pacers -- teams already playing like they have tee times set up for mid-April.

Look at LeBron James. LBJ "tweaked his ankle" during Friday's game against the Pistons. (A game in which he dropped 40 points.) He sat out Saturday's game at Milwaukee and Monday's against the Spurs.

Maybe he's really hurt. There's no way to know for sure. But according to Brian Windhorst's blog, James was hopping around the locker room like a little kid while watching the finish of the Hawks/Knicks game on Monday night. So is he really hurting? Or did the Cavs look at the schedule, see a four-day gap between the San Antonio game and Friday's visit to Philly and decide to give the King a full week off to rest up for the stretch and playoffs?

The reality of the situation is this: the Cavs have a 15 game lead on Milwaukee in the Central and a five-game edge on Orlando for the top seed in the East. Mike Brown could opt to rest James and Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao for another week without hurting his playoff positioning much.

What's the solution? Is the regular season too long? What if the season was shortened by about 20 games -- with the difference made up by another round of playoffs?

Never happen, I know. But how else do you address the "dog days"?

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