The NBA needs to address the dilemma of resting players 

LeBron James NBA Resting
Mar 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) and Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) on the bench during the first half of a NBA game against the LA Clippers at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports ORIG FILE ID: 20170318_tdc_al2_088.JPG

The NBA may have a problem on their hands that can possibly require a solution sooner than later. This problem has been brewing for quite some time, but after these past two weeks, I think it has hit its tipping point.

Last Saturday, there was an anticipated match-up between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. Two teams atop of the West that is battling for the number one seed. However, this primetime matchup didn’t include any primetime players.

Golden State decided to rest all of their stars with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green sitting out while the Spurs also decided to sit Kawhi Leonard. What was once a game to watch quickly turned into a game that no one really cared about. This is nothing new from coach Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. Some would say he’s the trendsetter of resting his guys in all hopes of keeping them healthy and fresh for the NBA playoffs. The coaches of the game had no remorse and even Steve Kerr joked that he may rest even more players going forward (via the Mercury News).

“I’m going to rest all 13 guys that game,” Kerr cracked. “So we’re just going to forfeit.”

Well if last Saturday wasn’t enough, this past Saturday included some more primetime ‘DNPs‘. In a Saturday night game that featured the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cavaliers decided to sit Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love. The Cleveland fans in attendance were unhappy, NBA fans watching were unhappy, and the league wasn’t too fond of it either. So much that the league let David Griffin, general manager of the Cavaliers know about it.

LeBron James sounded off on the topic acknowledging his sincerity for NBA fans while also saying there’s nothing that can be done.

“I don’t think the NBA can do anything about it,” James said following the Cavs’ 125-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. “At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest.

“And it’s a long, strenuous season and the NBA does a great job of putting the schedule together as best as they can. You’re going to have back-to-backs. You’re going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights, but a coach’s job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game.”

I agree with LeBron to a certain extent. The NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint but during this sprint, you have to keep the fans in mind. The fans pay to see a great product on a nightly basis and when that product is not being produced then you can kiss the fans and your job good-bye.

This is definitely something the NBA has to take care of going forward. Having some of the best players in the NBA not playing on prime-time television is a huge letdown. Coaches use the excuse of back-to-back games as their reasoning for resting players and although the league is looking to diminish the number of back-to-backs next season, what’s to say that coaches still won’t rest their players.

The solution to this problem is not something that will come easy. Obviously, the easy solution would be to get rid of all back-to-back games, but that doesn’t seem realistic at this point. Another solution could be to ban teams from resting their stars during nationally televised games which could negate the problem that we’ve dealt with in the past two weeks. Another solution could be to force teams to put out a schedule to the league stating which games their stars are resting. Teams know ahead of time when they have back-to-back games, so if they give the league a heads up at the start of the season, the league can make the nationally televised schedule around that. This is also something that would help those fans out who bought tickets hoping to see their favorite stars.  If they know ahead of time, they can save their money if they’re only looking to see a particular player.

While these are all just quick ideas, this is not something that’s a quick fix. This will take some deliberation from the league offices as well as the team owners to figure out a way of getting rid of resting superstar players.


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