The 11 teams that fail to qualify for the tournament would use the downtime for much needed rest and regrouping. None of the 16 teams that did qualify would play more than four games. In the current rat race, teams with injuries rarely have the time to get fully healthy. A player who should get 10 days off for a severe ankle sprain could miss as many as six games in that span, and so he doesn't take the 10 days. He comes back early, gets hurt again and limps through the rest of the season. It happens dozens of times, year after year.
With a sane regular-season schedule, the playoffs—the lifeblood of the league—could be expanded to include even more teams. Don't gasp. With a shorter schedule, the postseason could begin up to a month earlier. An expanded playoff format would produce more revenue, too.
Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent is talking, no doubt wistfully, about shortening the major league season, and the NFL has adjusted its schedule to provide each team an in-season weekend off for licking wounds. But the league that really needs to turn things back a notch is the NBA.