The NBA season is still young. Some teams are still trying to find their identity. And while some are still trying to find their identity, there are others that are trying to make sure to be there in the end. And all mixed in that are players sitting out games. There was John Wall sitting out a game for the Wizards one night because of his off-season surgeries and the Wizards trying not to overuse his knees at this point. And then there is the Spurs that seem to rotate sitting out healthy players and have been doing so for what seems like a decade. And more famously, LeBron James sat out a road game even though he was completely healthy. The reaction to these players has been mixed at best. There are some that understand what is going on while others are upset at the NBA allowing this. But ultimately, this decision falls with the teams and the teams alone. And unfortunately for fans, they are going to have to deal with this happening all year.
The NBA is a league that is essentially there to entertain its fans. Time and time again, fans have shown up and supported teams that were good, bad and otherwise terrible. But for teams, it is more than just entertainment. For them, entertainment is great. Nothing is better than watching LeBron James or Anthony Davis making an incredible move and finishing at the rim. But above that, there are some that value winning or losing more than entertaining. And in doing that, there are teams that schedule to sit out players during the season. The feeling is that with providing them additional rest during the season, then a player can be fresher when it comes to playoff time. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers are the ones that will most likely rest people in sporadic fashion. But the reason they do so is for a good reason. The Cavs have a team to win a title (and have done so before) and want to make sure that they get the best out of their players at the right times. The same can be said for the Spurs. And going forward, we will see more of that from other teams as well that are in contention for a title.
It may be a good thing for teams that are in contention to do, but it isn’t something that is beneficial for the fans that watch games. They pay hard-earned money to go see players play and when they end up sitting out, that can infuriate any fan that was ready to see a star player play. But the reality of this situation is that fans and the NBA cannot make it where teams cannot sit out players to rest them. But one thing the NBA can do is make it harder for everyone to take advantage of sitting out. One rule that the NBA should put in place is that if a team does not have a .500 record, then they cannot sit out a player if he is healthy. That rule may not affect the Cavs or the Spurs, but it does affect many other teams in the NBA. And the good thing is it is a start of where we draw the line for players sitting out. And one other rule that could help is something that TNT analyst Charles Barkley suggested. His thoughts were that teams resting players should only be able to do so at home. Combining my suggestion and Barkley’s suggestion would make it a little bit harder to sit players as much as some teams do. And along with that, it would help prevent teams from trying to lose for more ping-pong balls in the NBA lottery. Of course it does not affect the top teams, but it will at least show fans that the NBA cares somewhat.
The suggestions are nice, but the reality is teams are going to continue having players sit out games. And sitting games will not begin to become an issue to the NBA until they start losing money. When that happens, that is when they will probably address it. But until then, people will continue to be mad that they paid for tickets to a game where a star player sits out. And as far as teams go, they will continue to disregard any feelings the fans have in this instance. The reality is that teams care about winning titles or affecting draft position more than they do entertaining the fans and taxing their stars each night. And while fans may be upset, this practice will not be stopping anytime soon.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former cohost of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs, and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions. (Click on profile pic for more articles)