The NBA announced a series of potential new rules yesterday that will have some effects on the Detroit Pistons and their fans.
The league is trying to crack down on load management, the practice of resting healthy players in an effort to keep them that way. It’s become a problem in the regular season, as teams choose certain games to rest their stars, usually against weaker teams whose fans often get stuck watching the B team.
But it’s not just the good teams and the stars that are robbing their fans some nights, as teams like the Detroit Pistons find nefarious “injuries” for veteran players late in the season to tank away more games to increase their lottery odds, which is arguably even worse.
I agree that the league needs to do something, but am not sure these rules will have the desired effect, as there are so many loopholes and ways around them.
More specifically, they can’t rest “star” players at the same time, particularly during nationally televised games, so Tom Gores’ pocketbook is safe, as the Detroit Pistons don’t have any stars and only a couple of nationally televised games. Being terrible finally paid off, Tom!
We’ll see how this all pans out, but it seems silly at the moment, as teams can just start a player and then pull him in the first quarter, so they are going to find ways to rest guys. The penalty is just a fine, which I am certain some owners (Clippers?) would rather just pay rather than risk paying a star all season to sit on the bench injured.
My guess is that these fines are not stiff enough to really change behavior, so don’t expect guys like Kawhi Leonard to suddenly start playing 82 games per season.
There will be both pros and cons for the Detroit Pistons and their fans.
Pro: The Detroit Pistons are exempt
The league defines a “star” player as someone who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team in the last three seasons. Good news! The Detroit Pistons don’t have any!
So don’t worry, Monty Williams can load manage away without risking any of Tom Gores’ money. And if the Pistons are terrible again, we can expect to see their veteran players on the bench with dubious tank injuries as fans pay good money to watch Eugene Omoruyi and RJ Hampton battle the Warriors’ bench players.
I’m being facetious here, but it does seem to be a disadvantage for teams that are loaded with stars, though they can still rest any one of them on a given night.
These rules are really only targeting a small number of teams, which is another reason I don’t like them. Not only are they going to be very subjective to enforce (who decides if a player is really injured? Will there be Dr. detectives at the games testing Lebron’s knees?) but target only the top teams on big TV games.
It may stop teams from resting guys during “big” games, but what about the not-so-big games?