The NBA’s new rest policy is based on a house of cards

Rate this post


Look, I understand. We all love a good alliteration. There is great power in knowing that you have successfully achieved a stylistic device: you cannot control the narrative without a command of the language. I have to admit, though: On Wednesday, when the NBA Board of Governors approved new rules to inhibit the exploitation of load management for the upcoming 2023-24 season, what the league calls Player Participation Policy (PPP)—I couldn’t help but think how unfortunate it is to create a policy that shares an acronym with the Paycheck Protection Program, the U.S. business lending system launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 that has been almost comically riddled with fraud. But again, I understand. It’s catchy and is sure to be a hit in the upcoming broadcast rights deal negotiation.

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now

The NBA PPP hopes to crack down on what has undoubtedly been a bummer for all parties involved: star players missing too many nationally televised games. To do this, the league first had to define what a “star” is: a player who has been an All-Star or All-NBA team in any of the previous three seasons. Under the new rules, stars who are fit to play will have to suit up for nationally broadcast games and the new seasonal tournament. Teams will not be able to rest multiple stars in the same game, nor will they be allowed to rest their stars only in road games (where many fan bases will only have one opportunity to see a visiting star play live). Players who are healthy and resting will be required to sit with the team and be visible to fans. Teams are also prohibited from shutting down a star during the season for reasons that would affect “the integrity of the game,” such as last season, when the Trail Blazers sat Damian Lillard for the final 10 games of the season to help fill the tank. that led to Scoot Henderson…or potentially this season, in the off chance that Lillard (or the team) decides he should stay away from the Blazers for the duration of his trade request.

Violation of any of these new rules will result in a fine of $100,000 for the first violation, $250,000 for the second violation, $1.25 million for the third violation, and an additional $1 million more than the previous fine amount for each subsequent violation. Early violations would be bullets worth biting for most teams, particularly those already paying the luxury tax, but it’s still unclear how extended “shutdown” absences would be penalized: Would every game missed represent a violation? separately, or just the Games that conform to the other PPP guidelines? It’s easy to imagine full compliance if it’s the former. For example, if one were to transpose the Blazers’ 1-9 tank job to close last season to 2023-24, assuming there were no other violations earlier in the season, those 10 games would cost the team up to $38,350,000, or roughly $2 million more than the Blazers will owe Jerami Grant in the final year of his new five-year contract.

It’s a lot, both the theoretical money and these new rules that would need it. But it’s supposed to be a lot. There are billions of dollars at stake, from the NBA’s perspective. Load management: not the astonishing increase in parity in the league, nor the diversity and enormity of talent, not the game—has become the most important variable in the current NBA timeline. Commissioner Adam Silver has the burden and responsibility of assuring all relevant media executives that the featured players will actually play in the featured games. Put like that, it’s hard to imagine how these new rules could prove controversial. As NBA fans, we all want to see the best players in the world as often as possible. We all collectively groan at last-minute star DNPs that deprive us of rare once-a-year matchups, especially for fans who have already paid a lot of money to see them play live.

But criticisms of load management often lead to broader cognitive biases about how things used to be. The players were tougher then.. What else could explain it? Why do today’s players need so much rest when their ancestors didn’t? Why do they need more rest when there have been countless technological advances in surgery, medicine, nutrition, hydration, and footwear over the last half century? There is one criticism that at least attempts to bridge the past and present: the breakneck pace of today’s game is not a good enough excuse, given that games in the 1960s and 1970s were played even faster. But, as with other feelings, it’s not exactly a one-to-one comparison. Elgin Baylor may have stepped up against hapless plumbers a half-century before the technique became an industry standard, but he, in many ways, was the exception that proves the rule. Basketball is literally a different game today.

The NBA’s 3-point era, which began in 1979, was a clear line of demarcation in the broader arc of basketball, but just as important was a trend that ran parallel: the increasing legality of dribble techniques since the 1970s. from 1980 onwards. More open interpretations of dribbling allowed the game to advance beyond the flat-palm standard that had defined it for its first century and embrace more fluid and expressive movement patterns. The expansion of legal dribbling moves created more opportunities for explosive movements, both laterally and vertically. That sense of freedom on the court invited a greater variety of athletes who found new ways to express their gifts within the confines of the game. Today, an NBA athlete’s body is under more stress than ever because the bar for functional athleticism in the NBA is higher than ever. Just a few months ago, there was furious sentiment in favor of banning the foul charge after a handful of superstars were injured in the postseason and defenders slid underneath them while in the air, leading to cringe-worthy landings. . The league framework is still trying to catch up with what the game has become, and therein lies the problem.

Like most problems that have systemic roots, much of the frustration that arises from load management ends up falling on the individual, even though rest is largely determined at the team level. Kawhi Leonard, the Picasso of player participation (in a surreal sense, not in prolificacy, obviously) stands as the definitive avatar. It’s actually not a new position for Kawhi; He was the same thorn in the owners’ side four years ago in 2019, when his surprising power play as a free agent forced the owners to consider reworking the free agency rules in the new collective bargaining agreement, which they have done. since then.

As history seems to repeat itself, it’s important to recognize the bigger picture, which the NBA seems determined to obscure. The NBA is concerned about a problem its own rules have created. In essence: There are too many regular season games for the way the sport is currently played. Since the end of the 2022-23 regular season, the NBA has legislated an attempt to eradicate unnecessary rest, set a 65-game threshold for All-NBA awards, allowed teams to play games on the day they have flew over two time zones and installed the Season Tournament, all of which means that the league has built a house of cards over a yawning existential abyss that it seems unwilling to acknowledge.

Two seasons ago, in the Heat’s final regular-season game, an inconsequential Sunday matinee against the Magic, Bam Adebayo played less than eight minutes of the first quarter before missing the rest of the game. He rested in the previous game; Would those few minutes be enough to avoid a violation? How far will teams go to test the limits of the PPP? Will external pressure from betting markets force the NBA to be strict in its decisions? How the league decides to enforce these rules will be telling, and further additions to the rule could prove to be a slippery slope, serving as an even bigger headache than the original sin. The incentives and punishments the league has invented for next season end up getting mixed up when they’re all in the service of increasing productivity without really addressing any underlying tension. Do you want Kawhi to play more regular season games? Maybe give him a few more days of rest between competitions. It’s not basketball he’s trying to avoid, but injuries.

“We are certainly a business,” Silver said at one point during his Wednesday news conference after the board of governors meeting.

That has never been clearer. All of the league’s efforts over the past year have been obvious attempts to maximize both performance and demand at the same time, in preparation for the media rights windfall that is sure to come in 2025. We can’t yet know how they will affect the new rules. will affect players’ participation status in the upcoming season, or whether the new seasonal tournament will increase demand in the way the league hopes it will. But I have an idea about the latter. I’m not a business specialist, but I’m pretty sure there’s an essential part of economics that says scarcity drives demand. And there’s a pretty obvious way to create shortages on the NBA schedule. I don’t know, maybe it’s worth considering.


#NBAs #rest #policy #based #house #cards

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now

Leave a Comment