Adam Silver has plans to address the league’s brutal 82-game schedule, and may look to do so as soon as this upcoming offseason.
But in the meantime, with the travel involved in back-to-back games in different cities or stretches where teams are forced to play four games in five nights, resting perfectly healthy players has become an increasingly popular strategy.
The Warriors were the latest team to try it, resting Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala for Friday’s contest in Denver, in advance of a home game against the Knicks the very next night.
Some fans were unhappy, having spent money on tickets or driving a long way specifically to see a healthy Golden State team in action, and Steve Kerr took the time to respond to a few angry emails he received, saying he completely understands the reaction.
From the Associated Press:
One of the emails Kerr received was from a family that drove from South Dakota to the Mile High City with high hopes of seeing All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lead the Western Conference’s top team. Instead, those two rested along with center Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala. …
“I heard from some fans. I received a few emails, stories about driving in from a long distance off and spending a lot of money on tickets,” Kerr said. “I have great sympathy for those people. I really do. It’s a tricky one. It’s something that I think Adam Silver is trying to address through the scheduling shuffling that he’s talking about.
“It’s real important, because our fans deserve to see the best product out there. If somebody spends a lot of money, they deserve to see the best players, the guy that they came to see. On the other hand, as coaches we have to do what’s best to prepare our teams for a really long year.”
This was my issue when the Spurs started this trend several years ago, which is that fans often times buy tickets to see their favorite teams or players before the season begins, and it’s unfair to them if guys who are healthy enough to play do not, simply due to an artificial need for rest.
But now that the practice has become so prevalent, it’s no longer something to pity the ticket-buyers for.
There are plenty of seats available on the secondary market on game days in most NBA cities, often times at face value or below. It’s unfortunate, but fans now need to be wary of the schedule, and if a team is facing a back-to-back or stretch of four in five nights when coming to town, waiting on that ticket purchase or lengthy road trip is likely the more intelligent option.