Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The problem (and solution) of resting NBA players

Much has been made in recent times regarding certain NBA teams resting certain players as the playoffs approach.

To be fair, it is certainly understandable that a coach and his team's main objective is to win a championship. Having the players gassed when the rough and tumble playoffs roll around is not the best scenario. Sure, most of them are in great physical shape, but the limits of endurance are definitely finite. Consider---

The regular season consists of 82 games, plus a whole lot of travel. Throw in the pre-season, playoff runs, and, if it's an Olympic year, tack on a few more games for the Dream Team superstars everybody wants to see play. Instead of 82, the total is now well over 100. That's a lot of hoops.

On the other hand, it's flat out unfair to certain fans when teams decide to rest otherwise healthy players. There are those in many cities who only get one shot to see a certain team come to their town every year. Maybe it's Lebron and Co. Or Steph and the Warriors. Or Russell with OKC. Or transplanted Boston, Chicago, or Houston fans. Maybe they want to see Kawhi of the Spurs, or Carmelo of the Knicks.

Thing is, many of these fans aren't exactly wealthy. Some of them can only afford to go to one game. Given ticket prices, parking, concessions, programs and paraphernalia, it's not a stretch to think the "average" family of four shells out house payment money to go see a game. So they save up their dough for the one they prefer most, and then -- the star players they came to see aren't even going to play. It's patently unfair to them.

So no, teams should absolutely be forbidden from resting healthy players while in other cities.

If they have to do it, do it at home games. They have 41 if them during the regular season. Yet that comes with much the same problem itself. Sure, season ticket holders probably wouldn't mind too much seeing star players out of action once in a while for the overall good of the team. But what of the same "family of four" that skipped a house payment to attend just one -- and they're robbed of the opportunity to see their heroes play? That too is screwing many fans over.

It would seem to be quite the dilemma. How do you not disappoint the fans but keep your team fresh enough to endure the rigors of the playoffs? After all, the patsies are all gone in the post-season. Those games are all going to be tough.

Perhaps there's a way, if one thinks outside the box. Coaches typically know at least a day or two in advance when they're going to sit star players. That means the front office does too, and the media isn't usually far behind sniffing it out. Fans are helpless when it happens.

So here's the deal. The coach and team have to give public notice, say a minimum of twenty four hours in advance of a game, when this is going to happen. Very doable.

To compensate the fans on what they'll be missing out on -- have the team pick up the arena wide tab on certain concessions. Home stars sitting out? Free hot dogs, beer, and what passes, ugh, as nachos. The concessionaires keep track of their sales and submit a bill to the team. How much could that cost? A million or two at most? Chump change for billionaire owners. Hey, if they can pay a player $20 million a year that shoots free throws like Stevie Wonder, they can certainly afford to pony up a couple more mill to keep those in attendance somewhat placated. And their bean counters would no doubt figure a way to write it off on their taxes anyway.

So by all means rest the players when they deem it prudent -- but at home games only.

And ya gotta give the fans something back as well for the inconvenience and disappointment you put them through.

Problem solved.

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