Moore: The NBA Is Exploring Moving Starting Lineup Announcements Earlier

Aug 12, 2019 10:24 AM EDT
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Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Joel Embiid

The NBA is exploring the possibility of moving the deadline for announcing starting lineups before games earlier, The Action Network has learned.

Currently, the rule states that teams must release starting lineups to the league, scorer’s table, opposing teams and media 10 minutes before tip-off.

The result is a situation that has wreaked havoc on daily fantasy sports (DFS) and betting markets with late scratches or insertions. Bettors are either acting at a disadvantage without being able to accurately update positions or lineups, or the books are caught off guard by late scratches that can influence NBA games more than any other sport (star talent is more influential in a 10-person game).

The league is in the early stages of discussions but has suggested moving the time for such announcements back between 30 and 60 minutes from the 10-minute current standard. The effects would be pretty dramatic on DFS lineups with the extra time to make adjustments, providing a more transparent market.

Resistance is likely to come from coaches and some members of the league’s competition committee over the next month. Coaches, in particular, tend to take player availability as a matter of state secret, seeking any advantage they can create over their opponent.

There are some coaches on the other side, however, who feel it would be better to dispense with unnecessary gamesmanship in a grueling 82-game regular season to take one more stressor off their plates, especially given that most teams are equally prepared for the opponent in question to play or not play.

The very real-world consequences in the betting markets beyond DFS would be a wider window to bet pre-game with the requisite information. Books oftentimes have a player’s availability baked into the line well ahead of time, but bettor confidence would be improved with even 20 more minutes of time to find a position based on the player’s availability.

The exploration is part of a wider range of issues the league continues to explore when it comes to injury availability. Two years ago the league instituted new rest policies for teams looking to rest players throughout the season, along with a new draft lottery format that sought to curb tanking.

The measures were successful, to degrees, but the league continues to pursue further solutions in light of media scrutiny, fan displeasure at the sudden unavailability of players given ticket prices and concern from gaming partners and their clientele.

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