It sounds like Golden State learned its lesson.
Because the players wanted it — led in particular by Stephen Curry and Draymond Green — the Warriors pushed hard through the end of the regular season last campaign to get to 73 wins. Was that the reason Golden State went down 3-1 to Oklahoma City then blew a 3-1 lead to Cleveland in the Finals? It was certainly not the only, or even the primary, reason.
But based on their words and plans for this season, they clearly think it was a factor. Look at what GM Bob Myers said, via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.
The Warriors stars did get more rest than it seemed for much of the season because they got to sit a lot of fourth quarters of blowouts. Plus, the NBA’s tweaking of the schedule to almost eliminate four-games-in-five-nights on the road and limiting back-to-backs is designed to keep players rested. And playing more games.
The trend of elite teams making sure their star players get plenty of rest is not going away. Call it the Popovich effect. And Golden State is now on board.