How Should the NBA Handle Load Management?

Basketball, NBA, NCAAB, CBB, College Hoops article at Knup Sports

Load management has become a major problem in the NBA. Read this article to see Ian’s take on how to address the issue.

A major controversy we see in the NBA today deals with load management and how organizations can realistically maximize the quality usage and minutes of their players. The talk of a shortened 72 game schedule or having extra days between games has been floating around the Association for a number of years now. Many players and organization officials have given their own take on it, most recently All-Star Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

Stephen Curry notes a common misinterpretation when it comes to load management in the NBA. In a recent press conference, Curry said “I campaign to play every game. That’s the common misconception about load management. It’s never the player saying ‘Hey, I want to sit.’” Ultimately, the organization has the decision to either play or sit their players, in which they always account for the player’s health.

The Warriors have found some success when it comes to load management. They are popularly viewed as the team that gives their starters a game off more than any other organization.

With star players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all being seasoned veterans, the team officials know they can’t go out there and play all 82 games. Even with their current 27-26 record on the year, they still find themselves as one of the favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brian trophy in June.

Does This Strategy Work?

In recent years, some organizations besides the Warriors have found load management to work for them. A couple prime examples are the 2012-2014 San Antonio Spurs and the 2019 Toronto Raptors. The Spurs were even fined in 2012 for resting players.

The Spurs dynasty was loaded with talent, including Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Gibonili, and Tim Duncan. They strategically sat these players when they had some margin for losses or against weaker teams. In 2014, it ended up capturing them an NBA Title.

Kawhi Leonard found himself in a similar situation with the 2019 Toronto Raptors. They rested their stars in a number of games throughout the season, and it ended up being successful for them too when they won the NBA Finals that year.

All in all, I believe that this tactic does work, and the teams I have mentioned above prove that. Recently there has been a spike in the numbers of star players resting. If the NBA schedule isn’t altered in some way, we will see every team begin this trend, and the NBA may lose out on some revenue if this were to happen.

Load Management: Then vs. Now

When people look at the NBA before our current generation, they may wonder why load management was never really looked at. There are a few crucial differences between the way the game was played back then, and also the resources that were available.

First of all, basketball and the NBA in particular are being played at an overall much different pace now. Teams look to wear down their opponents in unique ways, and the uptick in rapid acceleration and deceleration has been known to cause injuries to current players. While the possessions per game and overall pace may have been faster in earlier decades, the way the game is played now requires players to rest.

Another difference between the NBA then and now is the vast amount of medical knowledge. As time goes on, players are constantly notified of a new way to handle our bodies and how to have longevity in their careers. After all, who doesn’t want to play in the Association as long as they physically can?

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