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Load Management Versus the NBA

As science progresses further and further along the world is learning new things every day about the human body. One of the newer ideas, load management, has recently been thrust into the NBA. The idea is simple. Play fewer games and in turn have a longer career.

But, many are not happy about the way load management is being handled. The main concerns come down to money. Nearly every complaint centers around one of two ideas. The first being that fans want to watch the stars play. The other being that since the players are getting paid so much then they should play all of the games that they can. Both of these arguments come down to the money.

It’s true, there is less incentive to watch a game if a star player isn’t on the court and in return this does cost the NBA money.

So, what can the NBA do about this?

Fight it

Fighting load management may be the least favorable for the league and its fans.

One of the rules the NBA put in place is that players could not sit out a nationally televised away game if the player is not injured, i.e. load management.

If the league were to take a hard stand and fight against it there would be some negative results. Namely, shortened careers.

load management
Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, (23) left, and Kevin Durant, (35) share a laugh on the bench in the second quarter of their NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

In the case of Kawhi Leonard, he has been battling injuries throughout his career. If the league were to force him to play his career could be over in the next couple of seasons.

The same goes for LeBron James who at year 17 is utilizing load management to stay healthy. Or even Kevin Durant, the list goes on and on.

If the NBA did away with it they would lose years on some of their biggest stars careers.

So, trying to fight it would not benefit the players and in the short term, it would benefit the league.

Embrace it

Another option would be to simply let it happen and keep the rules as they are now.

Yes, it isn’t great that anyone could sit out under certain circumstances. But, having stars play longer is a good thing. The trouble comes when this really does invalidate the regular season.

The thinking is that embracing load management could lead to teams playing stars a lot more rarely. Just enough to get into the playoffs and then going 100% from then on. This would cause the league to lose so much money that something would have to be put in place to prevent that.

Shake up the whole system

There are many ideas that can be thrown into the ring on how to deal with this issue. One of the most interesting ones, and arguably the most sensible one would be to shorten the regular season.

load management
LeBron James taking the ball up the court.

Some of the reasons that players are opting to rest are the schedules, the travel, and injury prevention.

Shortening the regular season could help in eliminating two of the three major issues.

If the season were to be scheduled in such a way where each team was to play every other team in a home and an away game this could solve a lot of problems. It gives every game meaning, yes a player could sit out, but that could really hurt if it is a big game. Every game would be a fight for a spot and better seeding.

It also would help mitigate some of the travel concerns. The travel that these players do takes a tremendous toll on their health. If the season was shortened this would not help eliminate travel, but there would be less of it to deal with.

The one thing it does not directly influence is injury prevention. But, similarly to the schedule change, a player could choose to sit but knowing that every game would have a lot more weight to it.

NBA teams want to protect their investment. In this case, their investment is their star players. The players also want to play as long as they can and be as healthy as possible after they leave basketball. The best-case moving forward would be to come sort of solution allowing players to rest and stay at 100%.


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Load Management Versus the NBA - The Game Haus - November 9, 2019 at 2:17 am

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