The Problem With the NBA Resting Players

Updated on April 6, 2017
Source

A lot has been made recently of NBA players sitting out games in which they aren't injured. For many years players have sat out the last one or two games of the season if they had little nagging injuries or their team has secured a playoff spot. Now players are sitting out in December, January, and March when there are still 30, 40, or 60 games left in the season. It has been noted for about the last 10 years but hasn't really come to the forefront until recently.

Two consecutive Saturday night prime time games on ABC have been marred by teams sitting players out. On March 11th the Golden State Warriors sat out stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala in the game against the San Antonio Spurs. On March 18th the following week, the Cleveland Cavaliers sat out their big three of Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love against the Los Angeles Clippers. Resting players in the middle of the season really wasn't a thing until it was popularized by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. On November 29, 2012, coach Popovich rested four starters for a prime time game against the Miami Heat on TNT. Then commissioner David Stern fined Popovich and the Spurs organization $250,000 but at that point, it still wasn't seen as a big deal like it is now.. After the Cavaliers opted to rest players, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent memos to team owners saying ‎that there will be significant penalties for teams that don’t abide by the league’s standing rules for providing ‎notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest. This season has seen an increase in DNP decisions due to rest from last years high of 146.

Source

The Problem

Over the course of the 82 game season, it is understandable that a player may need rest. The sport of basketball can be physically taxing. Perhaps not to the extent of some other mainstream sports like football and hockey but it still puts a lot of wear and tear on your body. When it comes to rest, I believe there are times and places where players should get it. If a player is looking for the best time to rest, then why not sit out the home games? Teams play 41 times a season in front of their home crowd so if a player were to sit out 1, 2, 5, or 10 games, then the fans in the area would still have at least 31 opportunities to see their favorite players. When you sit out a road game, that may be the only time a fan in that city can see their favorite star player in person. In the NBA, teams only play out of conference opponents one time on the road and in conference opponents a maximum of two times on the road during the regular season. Personally, I believe that when you sign your contract there is an unspoken agreement to be available to play 82 regular season games with 88 days off during the season, unless you’re injured or there are extenuating personal circumstances. There is also expectations to play up to 28 playoff games with 38 days off in there before going into the two to three month offseason.

Financial Issues

The NBA has a problem with sit outs when they happen on nationally televised games. Sitting out a random Tuesday evening game is a big deal to the fans, let alone a primetime game on Saturday. The support of the fans is what makes the salaries possible because without popularity and people wanting to come see the game the NBA wouldn't be able to sell tickets, which in turn would lower the amount distributed back into the pockets of the owners and players. TV networks sign deals for broadcast rights on national TV expecting a certain product.

In 2014, the NBA signed a nine year, 24 billion dollar TV rights deal with TNT and ESPN/ABC. The money from the deal led to an increase in the salary cap from $67.1 million to $89 million from the 2015-16 season to the following one and is expected to be $108 million by the 2017-18 season. This will lead to greater player salaries. The average salary this season is up to $5.15 million. If networks can't be certain that the best product available will be given to them, then they may want to reevaluate their TV contract. If fans can't ensure that the best product available won't be on the court, then maybe they would want a refund or stop going to regular season games altogether. If people turn off their TVs and stop coming to the games there would be a decrease in player salaries (players get a 50% share of revenue) and I don't think players want that. NBA tickets aren't exactly cheap either. In order to bring a family of four to a game, it would cost a person roughly $216 on average, not including the parking or if you wanted to eat anything while there. The Lakers and Knicks would cost over $400 in the same scenario; that's a lot of money for a potentially uncertain product.

Competitive Issues

Resting players also has effects on competitive balance. A team may rest players during the heat of a playoff race where one game could decide whether they go on to the next round. When you rest players you are intentionally not fielding the best team available for a given game.

Source

Solutions

  1. Shorter NBA Season: There are small steps being taken to prevent the need for rest. The NBA will start the 2017-18 season ten days earlier. This will give players 98 scheduled days off during the season. A better solution would be cutting the season to 60 games. It would lead to an ideal schedule in terms of preventing fatigue. It is widely believed that the NBA season has too many meaningless games. 82 games is really an arbitrary number. Schedules are unbalanced and no team has the same in-conference, non-division schedule. Cutting the season down would have monetary drawbacks. TV deals would have to be restructured because there aren't as many games to choose from. Players would have to be okay with taking smaller salaries because 20 fewer games should see a decrease in stadium revenue. Any organization or team that is for resting players should also be okay with making less money. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
  2. Changing the Meaning of DNP Rest: Injuries are a part of basketball or any sport for that matter. Missing games because of injuries is uncontrollable. If DNP rest could be looked at as an injury with consequences, it would change how coaches use this tactic. If a player sits out due to rest, he needs to be on the injured list. If you're on the injury list, you must be inactive for at least a week. On average that would cause a player 3-4 games.
  3. Limiting Player Minutes: Another option would be limiting minutes or changing rotations for a couple of games. If a player typically plays 35 minutes a night, maybe play them for 20 minutes in the next game. Over time, the fewer minutes that played would build rest time up to be nearly the equivalent of sitting out a game. This would still give the fans more games to watch them play.

At the end of the day, how teams manage their players should be up to the organizations. If the teams and the league are willing to deal with the consequences that come with it, so be it. Businesses that promises one thing but deliver another don't have the best track record for success.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)