The Quality of Play in the NBA

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Here’s the scenario, you have tickets to an intriguing matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers in November, it all sounds good right? We all know who the big stars are on both of those teams, LeBron James (he happens to be on the Cavs just in case you’ve been living under a rock) and Russell Westbrook (for the Thunder, again, if you’ve been warm and cozy under that rock). You sit down in your seat at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and come to find out LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are both sitting out so they can rest. Rest? Rest?! You will more than likely have two thoughts in your mind. The first one, obiously, is “This is complete B******* I paid good money for these seats I want to see these guys play!” Or two, “Okay, okay they need to rest up so they can be healthy for the playoffs and for more important games.” Part of it depends on who you’re a fan of, how they’re performing, etc.

This leads us to the BIG question, is resting your star players on a random Wednesday night bad for the quality of play in the NBA?

I contacted senior sports writer Bob Ryan, (@GlobeBobRyan) formerly at the Boston Globe, and frequent appearance maker on Around the Horn on television. I asked Mr. Ryan his opinion on NBA players sitting for “rest” and if it his hurting the quality of play. “Not a fan of resting players in this fashion,” says Ryan. “A growing NBA problem, the consumer deserves better.”

Even the basketball guru agrees, this isn’t a good idea. Signs of fatigue are natural in a sport that takes such a physical toll as basketball does, but does this call for an answer from the NBA? Do we go to more players being eligible to play in a game? Or simply a shorter season? Both of which still equal less time on the court for star players…but

What about the good things about sitting NBA players? Yes, they do get rest. In March 2012, The Spurs were at the end of a back-to-back-to-back three-day run against the Philadelphia 76ers but Tim Duncan did not play. Was he injured? No. Was he sick? No. Maybe he needs to rest those old brittle legs of his? Maybe. The box score that night stated “DNP: Old” and that is no joke. That may have helped the Spurs though, they did make it all the way to the Western Conference Finals that year. Funny as it is, is this act of “good coaching” good for the NBA’s product value? Is it disloyal to it’s customers? Maybe, maybe not.

Is resting players midseason a big deal, or should it be swept to the side? We here at the Sports Guys would like to know your feelings about this. Leave a comment here at this site or go to The Sports Guys Site on Facebook. We’d love to discuss.

The Sports Guys would like to thank Bob Ryan for his contribution to J.D’s article. You can find him on Around the Horn or on twitter: @GlobeBobRyan

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