Coach Nate mentioned the team will not practice this season saying, "games will be the practice". Of course they will watch tape and discuss strategy, but the off days will demand rest. It's safe to say that a younger team will have an advantage this season. Due to the grueling schedule, older players will be forced to ride the pine and trainers will be working hard to keep injuries to a minimum. Rookies are going to log more minutes since teams will need fresh legs. This could turn into some ugly basketball, like I expect the Blazers' third back to back to be. However, it will be intriguing to see how this condensed season tweaks the coaching strategy around the league.
My prediction is that older players are going to be spared for the playoffs. In doing so, teams will be preparing to loose to "better" teams while saving the older players for games they "should" win. Garbage games are going to happen, and a lot of medical lies will explain why ticket holders' didn't get to see fan favorites that night. The attempt to gain a higher seed will be less important than keeping the older talent fresh and healthy.
Overall, I think it will be a fun season with an edge to it. Whoever, cough Blazers, becomes the 2012 champions will deserve the respect, but in a different, lesser, way.