Some believe that the NBA season would be better off if it were a little shorter. Not only would each game mean more but the wear and tear on the players would be lessened, too. After all, 82 games can take quite a toll on the body, especially for those who face a long playoff road ahead.
The NBA’s top teams seem to be mailing it in down the stretch run as key players from the league’s contenders are sitting on a regular basis. The Spurs are notorious for resting key players, but they aren’t the only ones. Cleveland recently sat LeBron James while the Thunder rested Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka in Detroit on Tuesday. Golden State hasn’t yet thrown in the towel, strictly because of its pursuit of history.
According to the LA Times, the Clippers will be the latest team to punt on a big game when they sit Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan for their visit to Oklahoma City on Thursday. Los Angeles is already without Blake Griffin as he serves a suspension for punching a team employee.
So get ready to see former Thunder “standouts” Cole Aldrich and Jeff Green get plenty of run on Thursday. And just think, you’ll one day tell your grandkids about the time you got to see Austin Rivers and Wesley Johnson play live!
Not exactly enthralling. So is this a problem for the NBA?
There’s been a lot of debate lately about the idea of resting players in premier games and whether it should be allowed. Some argue that the NBA is an entertainment business and that coaches have a responsibility to play their stars for the paying customers. Others would say that a coach’s primary responsibility is to have his team ready for a deep playoff run, and if that means resting players, so be it.
If you bought tickets to see the Thunder play the Spurs on Saturday and the Clippers on Thursday, you’re probably livid. You spent your hard-earned money specifically to see OKC match up against the NBA’s best. Instead, you’ll see a couple of glorified exhibitions.
The NBA isn’t the only league with this problem. Many good NFL teams rest their starters in Week 17 if they have a playoff spot wrapped up, while MLB teams use September call-ups from the minors to fill out their lineups during the final month of the season.
There’s no easy solution to this other than to become more aware as a ticket-buyer. If you want to see full-strength opponents like the Clippers or Spurs, try and do it earlier in the season. You still won’t have any guarantees but the odds are certainly better.
Thursday’s game doesn’t tip until 8:30 CT because of the TNT broadcast, so you’ll have plenty of time to head downtown early and pour some money into the local economy. Full postgame coverage, as always, will be on news9.com.