Detroit Pistons news: Load management with no stars

Cade Cunningham (L) #2 and Isaiah Livers #12 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham (L) #2 and Isaiah Livers #12 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The NBA has made load management a focus of the offseason, not that it will affect the Detroit Pistons.

We broke down the pros and cons of the new rules for the Pistons, who will largely be unaffected by them except that fewer playoff-bound teams will be resting multiple stars against them, great.

The league is trying to prevent multiple stars from resting in the same game, which is not much of an issue for teams that won 17 games last season.

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In fact, there are a couple of ways that the Detroit Pistons are exempt from the league’s new load management rules.

Detroit Pistons news: Load management with no stars

Teams are no longer allowed to rest two healthy “stars” in the same game without facing possible penalties. I’m sure teams will find ways around it with dubious injury reports and creative rotations that feature a player in the first quarter before he mysteriously disappears for the night. Others will just pay the fines, which are far smaller than paying an injured star to sit on the bench.

The league defines a “star” as a player who has made an All-NBA or All-Star team in the last three seasons. Here are the 49 players it affects:

  • Atlanta Hawks: Dejounte Murray, Trae Young
  • Brooklyn Nets: Ben Simmons
  • Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum
  • Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball
  • Chicago Bulls: DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell
  • Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving
  • Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic
  • Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins
  • Houston Rockets: Fred VanVleet
  • Indiana Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Anthony Davis, LeBron James
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr., Ja Morant
  • Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson
  • New York Knicks: Julius Randle
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, James Harden
  • Phoenix Suns: Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard
  • Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis
  • Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam
  • Utah Jazz: Lauri Markkanen

As you can see, the Detroit Pistons are one of four teams not listed. Load management doesn’t affect teams that don’t have stars and Detroit isn’t there yet. The funniest names have to be Ben Simmons and Zion Williamson. How would you even know if they were load managing?

So the Pistons’ lack of stars makes them exempt from the new rules. Great.

But that’s not all.

The league didn’t address a much larger problem (in my opinion) which is teams resting players for the purposes of tanking, which Detroit has done egregiously over the last several seasons with guys like Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic sitting out with suspicious “injuries.”

To me, this is a far bigger problem than a playoff team trying to keep a player healthy for a run at a title. You can talk about fans being disappointed when certain players sit out for load management, but what about the fans of the bad teams who buy tickets just to watch their team lose on purpose?

Tanking has still not been addressed in any meaningful way and teams will just find ways around the load management rules, which seem fairly pointless.

Hopefully, the Detroit Pistons are finished tanking, and will soon add some names of their own to the list of stars impacted by the load management rules.

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