Load management is a relatively new term coined when players were taking the nights off because of various problems related to their injuries and health in general. In the last few years, we’ve seen multiple players abuse that power and often sitting out games even if they are not injured because teams now are doing everything they can to rest their best players. You would think that is a smart move by the ball club, and essentially you would be right, but if fans are paying such pricey tickets to watch games, the best players should be available to play, especially if they are healthy.
Former NBA player Baron Davis recently talked about load management on the FAQ podcast, where he shared his opinion on the topic and why that wasn’t even a thing to discuss when he played in the league. Back then, even if players had minor injuries, often, they would decide to play because it was embarrassing to sit out games.
Davis even admits there were times when he didn’t feel like playing, especially when he was tired, but he would always find a way to stay motivated.
It’s not like you are taking off, it’s like your body is so fucking tired, and I have to drag my ass to the office. Now, if I catch a song, start talking with somebody, and I start waking up, I can trick my body. Especially back in the day, you get laughed at, and it was frown upon to be sitting on the training table. If you could run, you could hoop. There was no load management like I sprained my ankle, and I’m out for two weeks, six weeks, none of that s**t.Baron Davis, via FAQ
Things were evidently different before, and that is why many fans and NBA analysts think players no longer have that same desire, passion, and toughness older players had. Load management or its excessive use is ruining the NBA and its product because we see players having more power and therefore exercising their rights more than ever before. That leads to frustrated fans, who sometimes saved up their money for months to buy a ticket for a game, and when they came there, their favorite player was sitting out.
The NBA is already taking action against teams that are resting players who are not injured, implementing fines for players and their respective teams. However, despite the fact they are tracking this more than ever before, the teams still find ways to rest their players without any major consequence. Whether that will change in the upcoming season remains to be seen, but there needs to be more conversation around how to limit load management for the better of the league and its product.