One of the hottest topics up for debate across NBA circles is whether teams should be able to rest relatively healthy players, which has started to become more and more of a trend in today’s league. Over the span of an 82-game season, it’s expected for bodies to wear down but that has always come hand in hand with being an NBA player. Now with competitive teams having extreme depth and coaches looking to preserve their star players for a playoff run, we’ve seen a plethora of elite teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the San Antonio Spurs rest their stars on multiple occasions thus far this season.
Talks have begun to ramp up even more recently after Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue decided to rest his star trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron James for a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
It seems everyone has voiced their opinion on this recent “issue” in the NBA including various current and retired players, and Lue even got a call from the league office regarding the inactive tags. When discussing the backlash Lue and the Cavaliers organization has received for sitting their players, the second year head coach called it stupid. Following from Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I mean, it’s stupid,” coach Tyronn Lue said of the criticism. “Kyrie didn’t come back the game before, knee soreness, Kevin just had his first game back, we needed two days in between each game. It’s OK, though, whatever. It’s stupid.”
When he was asked about it, guard Kyrie Irving had a strong opinion on it himself and was behind his head coach one hundred percent:
“I can’t stress enough how important rest is,” Irving said. “You’ve got veterans who have come before us who play 82 games that have their opinions and we’re just in a different time now. The smart way of taking care of your body and understanding what the important goal is at the end of the season it’s at the forefront of our minds. We’re playing for a championship run, playoff run.”
Irving is one of the players Lue tends to rest so I’m sure he doesn’t mind the extra rest he gets every once in a while. There’s no doubt it’s important to think about having all hands on deck and healthy for a deep playoff run, but if there’s no major injury or recovery process taking place, it shouldn’t have to be a question as to whether or not you’re going to lace up that night.
With more teams trending towards resting their more important players, this issue may be one that ends up getting reviewed this offseason by commissioner Adam Silver.