A conflict between competition and entertainment

    The trend of NBA players resting when healthy has organizations in a tight spot

    More stories from Parker Reed


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    An increasingly popular trend among teams competing for a championship in the NBA is for these teams to rest some of their star players towards the end of the regular season.

    Is the National Basketball Association (NBA) a league created for competition or entertainment?

    The event that has erected this debate is the recording trend of prominent NBA franchises, who are competing for a league championship, resting their star players during the latter portion of the regular season in order to give them a breather before the post-season begins.

    The most notable recent example of this is when the Golden State Warriors opted to rest almost all of their all-star caliber athletes: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Igodala. To add to the controversy, the game was a nationally televised Saturday night game against a rival in the Western Conference, The San Antonio Spurs.

    The reasoning behind this, according to Warriors head coach Steve Curr, was the players had played back-to-back games and they needed an extra day of rest due to an increased workload after former NBA MVP, Kevin Durant, became injured a month ago.

    From a management perspective, it makes sense a competitive team would want to do anything they can to give their athletes the competitive edge going into the make-or-break post-season, but what has fans and basketball analysts up in arms about this situation is the financial aspect.

    The NBA could not survive without the multi-million dollar television contracts they sign every few years. These contracts help determine the average NBA players’ salary and determine how much a franchise is ultimately worth. The television company broadcasting the Warriors and Spurs game in question was not happy whatsoever about the resting of players.

    When the game was being advertised, it was discussed to be the matchup of the two powerhouses in the Western Conference and a true showing of how these teams would fare against each other in the playoffs. But when the active rosters were announced a day prior to the game, the network knew they were in trouble.

    Ratings took a nose dive. Some of the lowest ratings for a Saturday night basketball game in ESPN history were reported. People did not want to tune into a game in which the Warriors’ backups were playing against the Spurs’ backups. They argued they have the preseason to see that type of uninteresting action.

    It is common sense that when fans who pay hundreds of dollars for a two and a half hour basketball game want to get their money’s worth out of the experience. I mean, when you are charged $5 for a bottle of water, I think they deserve as much. But when these teams rest players at the very last minute, they are deprived of the product they were promised when they purchased a ticket for the game.

    It is the equivalent of going to see the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers is healthy but opts to sit out. It is the equivalent of going to see the Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun just wants to rest his legs because it was a long game last night. Competing for a championship or not, this doesn’t feel right to me.

    I understand these teams want to succeed and feel they should be allowed to do anything to make that happen. Their legacies and their employment depends on it, however professional sports are first and foremost a business, and you wouldn’t be okay with a company making an inferior product because it requires less energy and they produced a lot of that product the night before.

    Michael Jordan didn’t take games off. Larry Bird didn’t take games off. And you should always remember that Bill Russell definitely didn’t take games off. If the NBA wants to continue being a multi-million dollar enterprise, they need to take their fans (and their wallets) much more seriously.

    Without the fans, the teams would be playing to nobody or not at all. If they allow star players to miss the game, they can’t be angry when fans start to take time off from handing their hard-earned money.