One of the negative aspects of the NBA nowadays is that teams are resting their best players throughout the regular season even if they are not injured. The term load management has become quite popular in the last couple of years, and teams are exploiting it as much as possible to keep their players healthy coming into the playoffs. Obviously, from the perspective of the NBA team, that definitely makes sense, but the fans feel cheated, especially those who pay a lot of money for tickets to see those players in live-action.
This problem is something NBA is trying to fight against, and even though penalties for the teams and players have become quite substantial, teams always find ways to rest their best players if necessary. There is also a strong notion that this problem is exclusively related to the new generation of NBA players and how things weren’t like before. Former NBA player and HOF Reggie Miller spoke about this issue on the Dan Patrick Show, where he shared why he never taught about sitting out games if he was healthy.
Reggie credits his attitude and mindset to growing up in a military family where nothing was given but earned. That is the mentality he carried on in his NBA career, where he established himself as one of fiercest competitors and trash talkers. The feeling of guilt would bother him too much if he knew he was healthy but still decided not to play.
In the way, I was raised in a military household where you have to earn your keep. I felt guilty when I didn’t play, even when I had a sprained ankle and I was able to play at 70, 75 percent, and I knew I could go. I felt guilty sitting out. I knew I could probably still shoot. Would I be able to move laterally on that ankle? Probably not, but I knew if the ball came to me and I was wide open, I still could be able to shoot, and that would help my team. So I felt guilty for not being on the floor. I felt guilty by leaving Dale and Antonio, and Rik Smits out there, so I always wanted to play. I just felt if you was healthy enough if you could run up and down, if you can contribute to your team, you play.Reggie Miller, via Dan Patrick Show
It’s somewhat uncalled for generalizing the entire generation of players by calling them soft compared to older generations. However, Reggie implies that it’s the league’s fault for allowing rule changes that consequently made players softer.
On the flip side, I get it. We made this league so soft nowadays, and I get it, but it wasn’t in my DNA to sit out. It’s hard for me to do that.Reggie Miller, via Dan Patrick Show
Reggie averaged almost 35 minutes per game throughout his 18 year-long NBA career, and even though he never won an NBA title, he competed every single time he stepped on the basketball hardwood. His generation of NBA players took pride in competing every night even if they were injured, which is not the case today when a lot of players insist on sitting out games and therefore causing major disappointment among their fans.
It’s important to be fair and say not all of them are like that, but this is indeed a trend that became more established in the last decade. Hopefully, the NBA will find a solution to fix this issue because of the fans who spend their hard-earned money attending games and seeing their favorite players compete.