Today: Apr 21, 2024

NBA grows softer when players sit

Hunter O. LyleSports Editor

As the second half of the NBA season starts, with All Star weekend in the rearview and the playoffs quickly approaching, fans of basketball are about to witness what promises to be the best basketball of the year. Except for one thing: there seems to be a lot of missing players.

At the start of the season, I was excited to see the plethora of tandem duos and new faces in new places across the league.

Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn was predicted to be a prominent addition to the Brooklyn Nets and of course, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George moving to Los Angeles to battle the rivaling Lakers was supposed to be the show of the century.

Let me preface this by saying this: stars like the Lebron James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers, Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Bucks and the trio grouping in Boston have been captivating all season. However, the league is seeing a detrimental effect by losing all these other players.

Also, obviously there is no one really to blame for the mounting injuries, like Irving, who will miss the rest of the season after a shoulder surgery, or Steph Curry from the Warriors who has been out since in late October with a broken wrist.

However, there is something to be said for the players that are intentionally sitting out, for ‘load management,’ and it pleases me greatly as a Spurs fan to say the poster boy for this is none other than Leonard himself.

Of the 56 games the Clippers have played this season, Leonard has missed 13, including three straight during in November, and without the missing star piece, the Clippers have lost what might have been easy games — most notably the blowout 124-to-103 loss to the Sacramento Kings in January.

Besides the single team impact that sitting players may cause, this new unfortunate trend is bad for the viewers, for the ones who shell out hundreds of dollars to see their favorite stars take the court, only to see them in a suit on the bench. Or the ones who buy NBA League Pass or something equivalent to end up with the beforementioned result.

This is just another example of the league getting soft. Michael Jordan might have said it best when addressing the subject to the Charlotte Hornets.

“You’re paid to play 82 games.”

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