Sports

Is Load Management Good or Bad for the NBA?

This term has been the recent controversial topic in the NBA

By: Danny Cacace

Seated in the middle, NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard sitting on the bench most likely due to load management. Credit: Bleacherreport.com

Load management is a term that’s been thrown around the NBA for the past year now. Some people are not big fans of players sitting out games due to this term.

According to NBA.com, one writer states the term means “an approach, a self-discipline by teams in rationing out a player’s usage to maximize his availability by, limiting his availability.”

The term has been controversial due to reasons such as a player sitting out a game when they’re deemed to be healthy just so they can rest that night. A player such as NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard would not play in the second game of a back-to-back game setting because the team is trying to keep them healthy and ready as possible for the postseason. 

I don’t necessarily agree with that notion because if a player is healthy and can actually play basketball without hurting his team to win the game, then they should play.

These players get paid millions of dollars to play all 82 games in the regular season, only of course if they are healthy to do so should they play. I understand if they want to rest one night because they played about 30 games in a row, and they need to take the night off; however, if it becomes a constant action where a player does not play the second game of a back-to-back just to rest that night, I find that absolutely ridiculous. 

I understand it’s for the benefit of the player’s health which I am all for, but what I am not for is sitting out due to rest. In that case, the league should make the regular season shorter to about 65 games which I feel is a good number to go about so that way less players sit out because of this term.

“If I’m not hurt, I’m playing.” NBA superstar Lebron James has said recently to ESPN about load management. 

Some people might blame Kawhi Leonard for starting this recent trend in the NBA, but some people might also blame somebody who probably inspired this whole trend to begin with. This person goes by the name of Gregg Popovich and he is the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. 

He has coached that team for about the past 20 years now, and has coached players such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Tim Duncan whom are all retired soon-to-be hall of famers. 

Coach Popovich, back when he had those three players on his team and they were nearing the end of their careers, would sit them out and give them the DNP for the night which means ‘Did Not Play’. This was because they were veteran players and he wanted them to be ready and healthy for the postseason. 

Although, he never used the term ‘Load management’ for the reason he sat out his players those nights, that was basically what he was doing back then. I find this as a more valid excuse to sit out players towards the end of their careers as opposed to sitting out a player in their prime. 

I believe that when they are really young because they are more fit to play than the older players are which makes sense unless you’re somebody like Lebron James where you just never age with the way you play on the basketball court no matter how old you get. 

“All the time in Chicago when I was coming back, load management wasn’t a term then,” Detroit Pistons starting point guard Derrick Rose told NBA.com recently. “Back then, it was, ‘He’s [expletive] being lazy.’”

Rose suffered a torn ACL in the first round of the NBA playoffs back in 2012 which changed his career drastically. As of the past three to four years, he’s shown that he can still play really well, but not as great as when he was in his MVP days back in the 2010-11 season. 

If he was playing in the start of his career right now in this new era of basketball where load management exists, and he never tore his ACL, it makes you wonder if he would’ve been the same player he was back when he was an MVP of the league if he got to sit out games due to load management.

Should load management stay or should it go? That’s up to commissioner Adam Silver of the NBA to decide, but it is definitely a debatable topic for sure.

Categories: Sports

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