There’s been plenty of conversations circulating through the NBA circuit about how soft the league has become over the past few years. There are multiple examples that can support that statement, but teams that rest marquee players recently took the cake for most annoying.
This is something NBA Commissioner Adam Silver decided to speak on a few days ago and his statement was rather strong, calling the resting of marquee players “an extremely significant issue for our league” in a memo he sent to all team owners.
This originally started with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich over a decade ago, which was just as annoying but overlooked because it was just a Spurs thing and they aren’t known to be an overly exciting team to watch in the first place. It didn’t become an issue until it became widespread throughout a large portion of the league.
There are multiple reasons why this practice has become a travesty and embarrassment to the highest level of basketball.
Fans overpay to watch these superstars compete, especially on the road and have been continuously let down when players like Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard sit out for “rest.” These athletes make a ridiculous amount of money to play basketball and are still able to take shortcuts like these. And the athletes of 2017 run circles around athletes of previous decades physically, and technology has improved a great deal as well. Therefore, the “soft” and “entitled” label that has been put on the NBA holds true.
There are four MVP candidates: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard. Two of those have missed five or more games simply so they can rest, which waters down both of their impressive stat lines. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are two of the most physical players in basketball and in Russell Westbrook’s case, size isn’t necessarily on his side to match his bruising style of play. Those two play every game they are physically able to play regardless of how tired they may be from the previous night and they still manage to orchestrate some of the most enticing performances the NBA has seen in a half-century, while leading their teams to solid spots in the playoffs, with subpar rosters.
The hard-nosed era of basketball is over. Players are stronger physically but mentally weaker. A previously-written story on thesuavereport.com discusses the source of this growing problem that has changed the entire culture of the NBA. Owners and coaches will likely do what they can to find an avenue around Commissioner Silver’s statement, but hopefully he’s just as passionate about this topic as we all are and will hold firm to what he originally said.