It’s what everyone in the NBA world has been talking about this week. DNP-Rest. Stars sitting out, and not just sitting out a Wednesday night game in Milwaukee, but sitting out primetime games. Primetime games are where TV companies make their dough. ESPN for example is paying Lil Jon likely way too much money to do the NBA Saturday promos and the product thus far has been a pile of steaming garbage.
A couple weeks ago the Spurs and Warriors were scheduled to play on ESPN’s Saturday night game. On paper, a great match-up and possible Western Conference Final preview. The Warriors sat Steph, Klay, Draymond and I believe Iguodala. Now, I’m on the record as a “Warriors Guy” but that’s absolute horse shit. I don’t care if that was the second night of a back-to-back and you played Monday and Wednesday, you shouldn’t be sitting that game. And even moreso, if you’re playing a de facto conference rival, you the player or the coach shouldn’t want to sit or sit your best players. You should want to win that game.
I’m also on the record as a Westbrook h8er, but one thing I will say about Russell Westbrook is that that dude doesn’t take a night off. James Harden either. Both those guys play every night which I do respect. Now, if both of their teams didn’t need them to even be competitive in a game would they sit for rest? Who knows, but I love that they do go out and compete every night, regardless of how many games they played, or if it’s night two of a back-to-back.
My point is that the “reasons” guys are sitting is bullshit.
- But the length of the season is too long – Guys have been playing 82 games for almost 45 years and 45 years ago they weren’t playing in these high tech shoes with extreme support in comfort. They were playing in Chuck Taylor’s that were the equivalent to running barefoot on the hardwood.
- Giving in season rest will extend my career – Resting 5-7 games a year isn’t going to extend your career by more than like 20 games. If that. If you’ve been in the NBA for less than 10 years, you shouldn’t rest.
- Scheduled days off are scheduled so it shouldn’t be a big deal if I’m playing a primetime or rival game – Again, this is horseshit. From a commercial standpoint, it’s absolutely fucking over the TV company that is paying your employer millions upon millions of dollars to put you on primetime. Secondly, how do you not want to play against a rival or in a big game? When I played baseball, blowouts sucked. They were boring. Shouldn’t you want the challenge? Isn’t the challenge what makes you a better team?
There’s just a lot of issues with this. I get that the NBA now is filled with much more bigger and physical guys and I get that rest may be needed from time to time. But this is truly becoming an epidemic for the NBA and it is hurting the product. If you want to promote the game, you need to put out your best product. It’s getting to the point where I’d rather watch two tanking teams play on a primetime game, because at least those two teams will be competing. So with all that in mind, here is my official list of ways to fix the NBA resting epidemic:
If You Sit Out A Game For Rest, Your Curfew is at 10:00
Isn’t it ironic that a lot of DNP Rests are in Los Angeles, Miami and New York? Nobody ever seems to be resting in Milwaukee or Minnesota. Weird. Oh could it be because Miami nightlife is absolutely lit (as the kids say)? Well if you’re taking the day off to “rest” then you should be in bed by about 10-10:30 to get proper “rest,” right?
Only One Player Can Be Listed as “DNP-Rest”
Just because LeBron sits doesn’t mean Kyrie and Love need to sit. For fuck’s sake, Love played ONE GAME since being back from his injury before sitting last Saturday night (on the FRONT END of a back to back, mind you). Obviously the problem here is that if James is resting then Kyrie might mysteriously have some discomfort in his back and “need” to sit as well. Well then it falls on the trainer. The trainer has to sign off saying “yes” or “no” that the player can play.
Make a DL for Rest
I heard T-Mac talking about this last night on NBA Countdown. He said “hey if you want rest, then you can rest for five games.” I kind of love that idea. If everyone “needs” 5-7 games of rest, then chunk it together so your body can fully recover. You can take your 5 game resting stint at any time, but just know if you want to rest, then you are resting for about five games in a row. Again, an issue could be guys “tweaking” their knee before the game and sitting out too, but that would certainly stop like three big guys sitting the same game. Nobody is going to sit ALL of their stars for five straight games.
Teams Must Report When Players Are Resting and NBA Has Flex Scheduling
Over the past few days, Adam Silver made it clear the other day that coaches must report when players are resting to opposing teams and TV partners possibly because the NBA TV schedule for primetime games may move towards flex scheduling. For example, if the Warriors are going to rest their four best players against the Spurs well then guess what? You don’t get the primetime slot. We’ll put another game in there that will actually be a good game. If you’re going to screw over TV partners, then they should have the right to not broadcast you.
Play Less Minutes
Nobody will ever do this because it would affect their stats and no matter how much its denied, the NBA is the most selfish individual sport of all (I have no problem with that for the record, but let’s call a spade a spade). People care more about their stats in the NBA than any of the other major sports. But let’s take the Cavs from last Saturday for example. They all play Saturday night in the Primetime game of the week and then the next night they play against the shitty Lakers. You’re telling me that LeBron can’t play Saturday and then follow it up the next day by presumably blowing the Lakers out of the gym in the first half and sit and “rest” for the majority, if not all of the second half? In the words of the old NFL Primetime Crew, “C’MON MAAANN!”
Just to kind of put things in perspective for you, I heard a stat that said something like in 2013 there were (don’t quote me on this) 19 “DNP-Rest’s” over the course of the NBA season. This season there’s already close to 130. That’s a huge increase in DNP-Rest in a short amount of time. I really don’t have a problem with rest from a fan’s perspective. I’m not one of those guys that’s thinking “hey I paid all this money for a ticket to see Steph Curry play and he’s not playing what the hell!” I’m more pissed off about this because the players talk about how they want to improve the experience of the NBA so they are given a primetime slot by ESPN or TNT or whatever, but decide to just piss right in their TV partners face. You can’t have it both ways, NBA players. It’s one or the other.
The other reason this angers me is because resting is turning into the “cool” thing to do. Only the All Stars can rest. Only the Banana Boat crew can rest. If you’re a role player playing 33-38 minutes a night, you can’t rest, but if you’ve been to an All Star game and play 38-42 minutes a night you can rest. Doesn’t make sense to me. And one more thing on that point, if you are one of those All Star players, if you really are one of the best players in the world, I will go back to the point of why the hell would you even want to rest?
I have to say, out of all of the things I’ve “fixed” I actually think this group of solutions is really not that farfetched and some of them are dare I say, realistic. You don’t need to shorten the season, you don’t need to change the game in any way, basically you just need to sack up, and stop fucking over primetime games.