A couple of weeks ago, former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out an interesting fact.
Back in the day, NBA teams only had one strength conditioning coach, held more practices and with higher intensity, and played more back-to-backs, yet players didn’t miss games so often.
Van Gundy questioned today’s methods, stating that the coaching staff might be doing something wrong.
Load management has become a controversial subject as of late.
Old-school players and fans alike have called modern-day stars out for sitting out when healthy, especially given how much money they make and how expensive tickets can be.
Recently, Charles Barkley put them on blast again over this subject, stating that all they have to do is play basketball three or four times a week, and they can’t even do that.
While Barkley is right on point about how disrespectful this is to the fans and how much it waters down the NBA product, ESPN analyst Zach Lowe thinks he’s blaming the wrong people.
Lowe explained how it’s the coaching staff, medical experts, and front offices are the ones that encourage players to sit out rather than the actual guys asking for some time off:
“I think Charles is right that this is a problem, but I think in a lot of cases, he’s blaming the wrong people,” Lowe said. “This is a sports science thing (…) a front office thing and team management thing.”
.@ZachLowe_NBA responds to Charles Barkley's comments on NBA load management:
"I think Charles is right that this is a problem, but I think in a lot of cases … he's blaming the wrong people. This is a sports science thing … a front office thing and team management thing." pic.twitter.com/Nb2PYZDhAD
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) February 28, 2023
This argument would make some sense if all players were like Klay Thompson, but Kawhi Leonard started this trend, and most guys actually seemed to like it.
Of course, no one wants players to risk their careers or play through injuries; it’s not about that.
But old-school stars also played for 10, 12, or 15 seasons and stayed on the court for 35+ mins; it’s not like their careers were cut short by injuries.
NBA players are making generational wealth, yet fans don’t even know if they’ll be available night in and night out, all for the sake of winning a ring.
However, just because it worked for Kawhi and the Raptors in 2019 doesn’t mean it’ll work all the time, and the Raptors might not even win that ring if it wasn’t for KD and Klay getting hurt; so it wasn’t all because of load management.NEXT: NBA Fans React To Potential Rule Change