What if the NBA set up a nationally televised showdown between the two best teams in the NBA and no stars showed up?
It happened Saturday night when the Spurs beat the Warriors. San Antonio was without three key players due to legitimate injuries (Tony Parker‘s back, Kawhi Leonard‘s concussion, and LaMarcus Aldridge‘s heart condition). However, Steve Kerr and the Warriors chose to rest Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala because it was the end of a long road trip and they had played tired. With that, the Spurs won easily and are just half a game back of the Warriors.
On Player’s Only Night on TNT (broadcasting the Hawks/Spurs), former Bad Boy Piston Isiah Thomas teased the Warriors’ Draymond Green asking, “Why’d y’all forfeit the game?”
Draymond took it in stride, and the thing is it wasn’t his call anyway. Steve Kerr gets the blame, but frankly, it was him, the team trainers, and the team management that all thought their team looked tired and needed to get their legs fresh. Rest in that game and they have three nights off before the next one, back at home.
What to do about players resting in big, nationally televised games — and even just road games in general — needs to be a topic discussed around the league this summer. It’s not something just the league can or should make an edict on, rather the league, players union, team representatives and others need to sit in a room and come to some kind of consensus. Don’t bet on it happening soon, but the conversation needs to begin.