Load management is a practice that’s been considered taboo over the past few years with fans and analysts slamming teams and their respective stars. One can’t argue with the fans who had spent their hard-earned money just to see their favorite star player sitting on the bench wearing casual clothes or not present in the arena at all. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently offered a solution that involves another touchy subject.
Load management era
Kerr is well-aware of the load management antics of several NBA teams. He seems to understand and fully accept the logic behind it. It’s a fact that some games hold more weight than others, particularly the playoffs. And teams adjust to this by letting their franchise player sit out a game or two.
For Kerr, one solution to get rid of this practice is cutting the 82-game season to 72 — a matter being discussed by the league.
“To me what makes the most sense is cutting back to maybe a 72 game schedule. Take 10 games off, and get more time to rest in between games. I think you'll get teams to play their guys more often,” Kerr said.
There have been whispers of implementing a 72-game regular season. Players nowadays do get injured a lot (which is a big mystery considering the advanced workout regimens today). In addition, given the amount of money involved, it makes sense if they get some ample time to rest and recover.
One of the strongest rebuttals to this adjustment is the plethora of NBA records that were achieved in an 82-game setup. It would be a complicated process to recalibrate them to make everything uniform. These records are usually the talking points of fans. Apart from the games, fans have their eyes peeled on the latest legendary milestone unlocked by an NBA player or a team.
Badge of honor
Whatever the case may be, it is interesting that the suggestion is coming from Kerr, someone who played in an era where suiting up for 82 games is considered a badge of honor. In his 15-year NBA tenure, Kerr has four seasons where he played 82 games. Two of these seasons were when we won titles with the Chicago Bulls.
Kerr’s exploits are nothing compared to the likes of John Stockton or Karl Malone. In his 18-year NBA career, Stockton played 82 games 16 times. Meanwhile, Malone had 10 82-game seasons in his 19-year NBA career. He actually could have had more. But there were seasons where he just played 80 or 81 games.
Time will only tell if the NBA hears out Kerr’s suggestion. But as pointed out, it is a lot more complicated than it seems.