In the weeks leading up to the start of this NBA season, everyone and their mother had their very own theory about the effects of the compressed schedule. One prevalent opinion said that younger, deeper squads would hold a significant advantage over older teams built around veteran superstars. This sort of thinking made sense — older players, we're told, break down more easily, while younger players should be able to hold up better in the third game of a back-to-back-to-back.
There's still time for that theory to play itself into the realm of truthiness, but this season has seen the Spurs — one of the teams that were supposed to be crippled by the compressed schedule — playing typical Spurs basketball. Steve Nash has shot an absurd 54 percent from the floor and led a genuinely uninspiring supporting cast into playoff contention. The 39-year-old Grant Hill plays 30 minutes a game. Dallas, a team that looked old at the start of the season, has dragged itself back into something resembling championship form. Kobe Bryant has played 38-plus minutes a game and currently leads the league in scoring.