Adam Silver: ‘a certain amount of (player) resting is just inevitable’ but league seeks reduction

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OAKLAND — The NBA is stuck in the middle on the rest issue. With no good answers.

It showed when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tried to sound like a guy with answers when he the topic came up Thursday night at his annual press conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals

One one hand, players resting during the season both decreases the chance of injury and increases the quality of play. The data on this is irrefutable, and for a league that has repeatedly said player health is a priority they can’t then force guys to play.

“What we’re learning, I mean, back to your point about the science and the data, is that it’s not 82 games, it’s not the length of the season, it’s the time between the games and that there’s a direct correlation between fatigue and injury on the part of the players,” Silver said.

However, it’s also a bad look for the league when multiple stars from elite teams are rested on the road or for nationally televised games. It was an embarrassing talking point for the league during the season.

“We had a good discussion with our teams at our last owners meeting, which was in April, and I think there is a recognition from teams that on one hand a certain amount of resting is just inevitable and appropriate to keep the players healthy, but that they shouldn’t be resting multiple starters on the same night,” Silver said. “And, incidentally, wherever possible, they should rest at home.”

Good luck getting teams to rest guys more at home (in part because on the road is when games tend to be clumped, not at home).

Silver discussed a couple of ways to reduce the number of back-to-backs and eliminate the number of four-games-in-five-nights situations on the road that lead to rest nights.

“One of the ways we’re going to solve the problem is we agreed with the union to add a week to the regular season for next year,” Silver said, referring to the recent CBA negotiations. “We haven’t done that yet. So a same number of games spread out over an additional week.”

The question was asked if one week was enough. Silver said the players’ union was willing to go further, but, “My desire is not to be giving this press conference in July. That’s the issue.”

The extra week was common knowledge, what was new was the league working with arenas to free up more dates.

“We are also requiring our arenas to free up more dates,” Silver said. “We’re competing against everything else that happens in these buildings, so you can only imagine the number of permutations that go into the computer program. But if we can ask them to hold yet additional nights, that also enables us to create more space between the games.”

Silver also tried to put the rest issue into better historical context — guys were rested in the past, they were just listed as out with a sore ankle/back/whatever.

“Resting in itself is not a new issue in this league,” Silver said. “I mean, part of the difficulty in making the comparisons from our historical seasons is that we didn’t used to have a category called DNP, do not play, resting. That’s only three years old on the stat sheet.

“But when you look back at the actual number of games — just taking All-Stars as a sample of players, over 30 years, our All-Stars are playing just about the same number of games this past season than they did 30 years ago.

“And I would also say back to those fans that here we are going into The Finals with a No. 1 seed in the West, No. 2 seed in the East, two teams that obviously had tremendous regular seasons, and every player is healthy.”

True, but we should note one of the reasons both of these teams cruised so easily into the playoffs were injuries to their opponents. Both the Warriors and Cavaliers benefited from injuries to multiple teams they played — the Warriors faced a Portland team without a healthy Jusuf Nurkic, a Utah team without a healthy George Hill, then, of course, the Kawhi Leonard injury with the Spurs (which was not a rest issue).

“I don’t necessarily think the fan benefits by somehow if the league could require a player who wasn’t injured but was banged up to play in a game when the trainers felt that player needed rest,” Silver said. “I don’t think the fan benefits by requiring that player to play and then that player getting injured.”

Silver is right. He also runs an entertainment business, one that too often does not put out its best product in front of the fans because coaches and GMs — understandably — are thinking big picture and not about the short-term optics.

There is no easy answer here. Silver and the league are doing what they can, but rest is here to stay. The league just needs to find a way to improve the optics.

Larry Nance Jr., Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier exchange shoves after whistle (video)

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Marcus Morris fouled Larry Nance Jr. in Celtics-Cavaliers Game 5 tonight. Nance didn’t like that, got up and shoved Morris. Morris and Terry Rozier didn’t like that, and both shoved Morris.

All three received a technical foul, which seems fair.

Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala questionable for Game 5

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Andre Iguodala missed the Warriors’ Game 4 loss to the Rockets with a leg injury.

It’s not certain he – or Klay Thompson, who played through a knee injury suffered in Game 4 – will be available for Game 5 tomorrow.

NBC Sports Bay Area:

Klay Thompson, who suffered a left knee strain during the first half of Game 4, is listed as questionable, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

Iguodala missed Game 4 with a left lateral leg contusion and is questionable for Game 5.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Iguodala:

He’s feeling a little better today, and he’s out on the floor. Not doing a whole lot, but making progress.

Kerr on Thompson:

Klay is moving around really well. I think Klay is going to be fine.

That sounds better than “questionable” for Thompson.

The Warriors need one, maybe both, of those two on the court. Golden State’s depth, especially on the wing, is looking shaky.

In Game 4, Golden State outscored Houston by 20 in the 31 minutes Stephen Curry, Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green played together. In the in the 17 minutes they played without even one of those stars, the Warriors got outscored by 23. Nick Young, who received more playing time when Thompson left the court area due to his injury, looked particularly overwhelmed.

James Harden‘s defense is a huge bellwether in this series. The Warriors spend a lot of focus trying to exploit him, and if that fails, the shot clock gets low before they move into another action. If Thompson is even just slowed, that’d make it easier for Harden to keep up.

Milwaukee releases video of police tasing and arresting Bucks guard Sterling Brown

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Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrestedbut not charged – over a parking violation in January.

As promised, Milwaukee released video of the incident.

Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Brown:

Bucks statement:

The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment.

We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.

There needs to be more accountability.

The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us.

Incidents like this remind us of the injustices that persist.  As an organization, we will support Sterling and build on our work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community.

The video isn’t jarring due to its unfortunate familiarity – particularly compared to the many videos we’ve seen of police brutality around the nation. The scene is far too familiar. Police escalate a situation and enact violence upon someone they encounter, disproportionately minorities.

The most shocking element of this incident is the response – how the police chief acknowledges his offers acted inappropriately and how STRONGLY the Bucks stand behind Brown. That is one sharply worded statement from the team.

Hopefully, this sparks change.

Joel Embiid: Aron Baynes (‘Man bun’) ‘in NBA just to get dunked on’

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During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.

The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.

Embiid:

Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.

But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.

Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.