The draft lottery reform highlighted the NBA’s drive to eliminate tanking from the league, but the competition committee has gone one step further.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnorowski, one proposal includes commissioner Adam Silver having the ability to fine teams for resting healthy players during nationally televised games.
Wojnaroski adds that a plan recommended to the league’s board of governors includes guidelines for when franchises can rest players. The intent is to sitting healthy players at home rather than on the road. The board will convene to vote in late September, per Woj.
There is value in protecting road games, since fans buying a ticket often target games featuring LeBron James, Stephen Curry or other marquee players. Besides, in most cases, that matchup is the one chance fans have to see those stars in action during a given season.
Plus, Silver has consistently made wise decisions while running the NBA, so if there’s ever a commissioner to have this power, it’s probably him.
However, this is a self-inflicted problem for the league, yet it’s working to penalize teams for recognizing what is smart.
According to teamrankings.com, NBA teams last season finished 215-298 (a 41.9 winning percentage) on zero days of rest compared to 226-218 (50.1 percent) when given two of three days off.
Given that data, why would coaches choose not to rest players when needed — and especially when the schedule is favorable?
Hopefully, this doesn’t turn into a situation where the NBA is dishing out $250,000 fines like it did to the San Antonio Spurs in 2012. Then-commissioner David Stern levied the penalty after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green for the final outing of a six-game road trip.
But no matter how much time we spend analyzing, lauding or criticizing the proposal, NBA coaches will determine whether this becomes a real issue when we see their strategic rest patterns in 2017-18.