Resting players in the NBA has proved to be a slippery slope, but it seems the league is looking into a solution.
Running on hardwood is awful for your body, so it makes sense that coaches would want to prevent injuries when the schedule gets tough. But that also means sitting players who fans paid good money to see play, sometimes in front of national TV audiences.
Well, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the NBA sent a memo to teams Tuesday outlining schedule changes that would reduce the need to rest starters. The NBA season will start a week earlier in 2017 to accommodate for the following changes, via ESPN:
— Eliminating stretches of four games in five days and 18 games in 30 days.
— Reduction of five games in seven nights to just 40 instances across (1.3 per team), down from last year when it was on the schedule 90 times (three per team).
— Reduction in the number of back-to-backs to 14.9 per team, down from 16.3 per team. In all, 40 back-to-backs have been eliminated from last season.
— Reduction of single-game road trips by 17 percent.
— Reduction in single-game road trips over 2,000 miles by 67 percent; there are only 11 of them on schedule.
— Increase in weekend games from 549 to 568, much of the boost coming on Saturdays. Previously the NBA avoided Saturdays and Sunday afternoons during football season to dodge conflicts.
It happens every season, but the issue of resting players came to a head in March when the Golden State Warriors rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala in a televised game against the San Antonio Spurs while Kevin Durant also was out with a knee injury. Before that game, which was a back-to-back for the NBA champs, the Warriors had played seven road games in a 12-day span, with most of them being on the East Coast.
The 2017-18 schedule is set to be released this week.
Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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