NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo on Monday to NBA executives concerning the issue of resting players, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. In the memo, Silver informed teams that resting players is “an extremely significant issue for our league”. Silver also mentioned that there would be consequences for teams that did not follow the NBA’s rules concerning the issue.
This issue has become very controversial this season, and it seems to have significantly grown throughout the years. During the 2012-13 season, there were only 19 instances of players missing games due to rest. The next season, there were 46. That number has continued to increase for the following seasons. But this season has been home to the most instances of players missing games due to the rest.
It has become very annoying for fans.
Two weeks ago, the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors rested their star players for a nationally televised game on ABC. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala. Last weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers rested their Big Three, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, in a nationally televised game against the L.A. Clippers. Having star players miss games due to rest for those types of games will eventually hurt NBA ratings and is not a good look for business aspect of the league.
However, the strategy is a key to maintaining a player’s health.
Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich popularized that strategy when he used it with his players, and it worked, too. Tim Duncan’s career is evidence of that.
Resting players is obviously a good strategy to ensure that players are ready to contest in the post-season. To the Warriors defense, they did just lose four of their six last games in a hectic road trip. The 82-game NBA season is very brutal, so NBA players deserve to have an occasional break, right?
Popovich was tremendous this morning on rest. Understands Silver's position. Thinks they can work together. pic.twitter.com/xfTnVsijpI
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) March 21, 2017
Wrong. The only player who should be complaining about getting a rest is LeBron James. He plays way too many minutes for him not to do so. There’s no need to delve into the craziness of the minutes that LeBron James has played over the years (he is currently ranked seventh on the all-time list of most minutes per game). Unless players are averaging minutes like that, there is no need for a rest.
James recently weighed in on the issue, mentioning that it was not a problem until he started taking breaks, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“I just know the conversation gets a little bit more talked about when I’m a part of it,” said James. “If it’s somebody else, it gets blown up a briefly, it gets talked about a little bit, but it doesn’t have legs and it’s gone. But as soon as I’m involved it’s just a whole different situation.”
The trend begs the question, “Are players taking a break because they simply don’t feel like playing, or do they really need a break?”. That is the question that will become more of a bigger issue than the longevity of a player’s career. If players continue to frequently sit out a game when they are not injured, it will disappoint fans so much so that they wouldn’t even care about the future of players.
The argument can be made that (in regards to the previous statement) players should not be treated as a product; their health should be equally important for the league.
To appease both sides, the NBA should consider shortening the season and impose penalties and limits on players and teams when they decide to rest.