“But they’re responsible for this. They’re the ones that started this,” Kendrick Perkins on the Spurs and load management.
SAN ANTONIO — It’s been a hotly debated topic recently – NBA load management.
The practice in which players will sit out games in order to rest during the 82-game NBA season.
Players and teams see it as necessary to preserve player health, prolong careers, or have the team ready for the postseason.
However, the drawback is that the paying customer might miss out on seeing their favorite players on the court.
It’s an issue that many see as a problem for the NBA and ESPN’s NBA Analyst, Kendrick Perkins, blames the creation of load management on the San Antonio Spurs.
“Just like we give Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs all the credit and they just do for creating a hell of an organization, setting the standard for around the league and things to that nature and building culture,” he said during a segment on NBA On ESPN. “But they’re responsible for this. They’re the ones that started this. They started this with Tim Duncan. They started this with Manu Ginobili. They started this with Tony Parker.”
Perkins is likely referring to the 2012 game versus Miami when Popovich sent home Parker, Duncan, Ginobili, and Danny Green before a prime-time TV slot. The Spurs were ultimately fined by the league for the action.
Fast forward, now all teams do some sort of load management and Popovich scoffs at the notion he created the concept.
“I never did load management. I never took out a sheet of paper and said ‘he’s going to do this, he’s going to do that,’” he said before facing the Boston Celtics in 2020. “Manu Ginobili and Tony Paker played more minutes than anybody in the world ever when you count what they did in the summers for so long and when they started playing pro ball. So it was just logical to try to watch their minutes.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about load management at the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend stating it is an ongoing discussion with the player’s union.
“It is an ongoing conversation with the Players Association. This isn’t a new issue. There’s nothing particularly happening this season that we haven’t seen happening over the last several seasons,” Silver said.
NBA has made efforts to reduce wear-and-tear on players such as minimal back-to-back games, reducing travel between games, and a spike in days off between games.
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