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NBA executive says ‘science’ doesn’t support load management

The NBA Board of Governors approved a new policy ahead of the 2023-24 season that prevents teams from resting more than one star player in a game for what had in the past been described as “load management.”

Under the new policy, any team resting more than one player who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team in the past three years would face punishment.

Star players have pushed back against this policy. Others have embraced it to an extent.

“I think the league’s approach in trying to get players to player more, I think that’s great. I’m trying to play as many games as I possibly can,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown said, via NBA.com. “It don’t always be the players. I know that’s the narrative, that it’s the players that decide not to play. I won’t go into detail, but that’s not always the case.”

Now, it’s apparently the NBA’s turn to add to the public disourse.

“Before, it was a given conclusion that the data showed that you had to rest players a certain amount, and that justified them sitting out.

We’ve gotten more data, and it just doesn’t show that resting, sitting guys out correlates with lack of injuries, or fatigue, or anything like that. What it does show is maybe guys aren’t as efficient on the second night of a back-to-back.”

NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars said, via The Athletic

The NBA’s decision to set forth a new policy had a lot to do with big-time teams resting star players via load management during nationally televised broadcasts. We’ve seen it a lot in the past with the likes of the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, among other teams.

It is an issue when we’re talking about aging teams. The Warriors have Stephen Curry (35), Klay Thompson (33), Draymond Green (33) and Chris Paul (38) all past their prime. They’ll need more days off than the likes of Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, both 21.

LeBron James, 38, is no spring chicken for the Lakers while star big man Anthony Davis has dealt with a fair share of injuries in his career.

These are just two examples. But the Association’s new policy has made it clear that teams must walk a fine line.

NBA load management debate is not going to die down

nba load management policy
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

When Clippers star Kawhi Leonard heard about the new policy, he pushed back against it in a big way.

“I’m not a guy that’s sitting down for load management. I work out every day in the summertime to play the game, not to sit out and watch others play,” Leonard said earlier in October. “No league policy is helping me to play more games.”

Leonard played 52 games this past regular season as he continued to work through long-term issues stemming from a torn ACL. He then missed the final three games of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series loss to the Phoenix Suns with a torn meniscus.

“This is ultimately about the fans,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver back in September. “And that we’ve taken this [load management] too far. This is an acknowledgment that it has gotten away from us a bit.”

It is certainly going to be a major topic of discussion around the Association with the 2023-24 regular season getting going here in a couple weeks.

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