Is Rest an Issue in the NBA?
*Photo via Getty Images
I was watching Mike and Mike in the Morning and they had legendary great and Baseball Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken Jr. on the show. One of the greatest players,definitely best shortstop ever in my opinion and holder of the consecutive streak of 2,632 games played. He was a true iron man, put on his hard hat and went to work like your regular joe doing his 9 to 5 gig. He talked about how they would be days where he was hurting and had injuries, but he still went to work because he loved the game. Then I remembered, when I was a Laker fan, and one of my favorite players A.C. Green, who holds the NBA record of 1,192 consecutive games played.
Players back in the day took pride in going to practice or playing in games even if they were hurting. They were that passionate about the game and it was their job to show up no matter what unless there was serious injury. Bottom line, if you were healthy, you were playing.
And then there's today's NBA where players rest in the beginning, during and end of the season. It all started with coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs resting and preserving his older/superstar players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker so that they can be fresh for the playoffs. The league is a copycat league so a couple teams started doing it, then a few and now it's got to a point where every team does it. It got real ridiculous when teams started resting younger star players. Also teams not even making the playoffs did the same. It's like "dude, you ain't making the playoffs, you are going fishing, so what are you resting for?" Vacation is in a couple weeks. You see a box sheet and a player is a healthy scratch or DNP (Did Not Play) because of rest. What part of the game is that??? Like the late legendary rapper/emcee Notorious BIG said "things done changed".
*Photo via Getty Images
Take for example the Brooklyn Nets. Nets are 21-58 this year and they have decided to rest Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic. You mean they haven't been resting all season with that terrible record?? NBA should force Brooklyn to play these players because their effort didn't impact wins and loses on the court.Or maybe this is a way for the Nets to tank for the rest of the season so that they can get as many ping pong balls in the draft lottery. WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!! The Nets traded away all their draft picks and assets a couple years ago acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics. One of the biggest robberies seen in years. It might seem as if I'm picking on the Brooklyn Nets (which I am, they make it easy) but I'm just trying to prove a point of how bad this whole "resting players" is. Brook, Young and Bogdanovic should just play the rest of the season and then rest up during the five month off-season.
These modern era players make millions and millions of dollars, definitely way more than their predecessors but don't play as many games. The All-Star Weekend was changed from having just a few days off from the regular schedule to a whole week vacation. The NBA even accommodated the players with less back to back games on the schedule this year. LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki suggested that the NBA should shorten the season to which Michael Jordan ( the greatest player that ever played the game and owner of the Charlotte Hornets) replied " If I wasn't playing 82 games, I would be playing somewhere else because that's the love for the game I had". Compare that to most WNBA players, who play basketball 10 or 11 months out of the year for way less money than the NBA guys. Now the ladies have a beef about their schedule, but they do it for the love of the game.
There is no easy solution to the " resting" players epidemic. Maybe the NBA can fine teams doing this practice but then those teams might find a way to get over that rule and start making up injuries and excuses. Or if a team "rests' a player, then it should be a rule that they sit out the next game or couple games after. The league has to figure something out because it is becoming a plague and not good for the game, especially the paying customers. The consumer pays high prices for games to watch the stars and a good competitive game. It's not fair to them to see the stars on the bench and not dressed for the game because they are "resting". A rule should be set in for the betterment of the game of basketball. So Adam Silver and his crew of NBA executives need to put their thinking caps on and come up with something, or else some of these players will be setting up their own schedule and working whenever they want to.