The term load management is surrounded by a lot of negative connotations, especially among NBA fans. The teams are often resting their best players, which is frustrating if you are a fan who paid an expensive ticket for a game and ended up not seeing your favorite player. That isn't a problem if a player is injured and can't perform; however, a lot of these players are healthy and more than capable of playing, but the teams coaching staff decides whether a player will skip certain games in the schedule.
In a recent interview for The Rick Eisen Show, Mark Cuban was talking about load management and why teams use this method now more than they did in past years. Cuban is a firm believer that load management is a good thing and that there is a misconception around it and how most people don't understand the necessity behind it.
"These are professionals that make a living with their bodies. Science has changed over the years, and we are now a lot smarter about the impact of a 48-minute game. We can track fatigue, and we can see the impact not just on their bodies but in their performance. When we limit the guy's minutes, we get more out of them. And not only that, but hopefully for the Mavs back to the playoffs, we tend to balance it out, so our load management isn't just reduction of minutes."
According to Cuban load management is not only about decreasing minutes but on the other hand, is keeping the player as healthy and fresh as possible for the end of the season and possibly the playoffs. Cuban's reasoning is that the amount of minutes a player plays at the end of the season increases, especially if the team is trying to improve its regular-season score. In the playoffs, star players spend more minutes on the court, and therefore it's essential to save their health as much as possible during the regular season when there is still a lot of room to maneuver.
"Load management also means towards the end of the season; you're increasing minutes; you're increasing the number of games. By the time playoffs kick in, you're ready for instead of playing 34,35 minutes a game like Luka this year, and we're ramping that up to 38,39 minutes. While everybody talks about load management as being a reduction that's typically towards earlier in the year but towards the end of the year that load management means increasing the number of minutes and being able to take on a more strenuous load."