Written by DaMichael Jackson-Helm
InsideTheAcorn.com sports reporter
March 29th, 2017
It’s no secret that the NBA wants to make sure players are healthy every year and some coaches will rest their best players so they don’t have to worry about them getting injured.
However, it seems that resting players is starting to become a problem in the NBA as teams that aren’t in the run for the playoff seedings are starting to rest their players and teams in the playoff contention are doing the same thing as well.
Recently, when the Warriors faced the Spurs, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iquodala when they faced off against the Spurs. The Cavs also did this by resting LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love against the Clippers. Fans were very upset and mad at him for sitting out against a playoff team, but playing in the next game against the Lakers the next day.
The issue of resting players is nothing new. San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is infamous for the practice, which reached its apex when he sat Tim Duncan with a “DNP-Old” designation in 2012.
Uproar about players resting seems to be reaching a new high, however. The issue has become big enough that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to owners threatening significant penalties for teams that rest stars without notice.
Cavs Coach Tyronn Lue called the whole debate “stupid” by saying “Kyrie didn’t come back the game before, knee soreness, Kevin [Love] just had his first game back, we needed two days in between each game. It’s OK, though, whatever.”
Irving agreed, saying that regardless what fans and older may players may think of it, resting helps keep players healthy late in the season.
“I can’t stress enough how important rest is,” Irving said. “You’ve got veterans who have come before us who play 82 games that have their opinions and we’re just in a different time now. The smart way of taking care of your body and understanding what the important goal is at the end of the season it’s at the forefront of our minds. We’re playing for a championship run, playoff run.”
Teams like the Cavaliers and the Spurs, perennial title contenders, can afford to rest their best players to keep them in top shape for when they need to be at their best. The season is long, and the more they play, the more tired and at risk for injuries they become. The Cavaliers do not want a repeat of the 2015 NBA Finals, when Irving and Kevin Love missed due to injuries.
Rest is also critical for teams that aren’t in the championship conversation. Whatever the individual team goal is, it can only be achieved with healthy players. That is, unless the team is tanking, at which stage there’s not even a point in playing those players at all.
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