Load management is a phrase that's run rampant in the NBA since the Toronto Raptors used it to justify Kawhi Leonard's rest days en route to the 2019 NBA Finals, but a recent study showcased that the method might not actually be that effective. The league has damaged its brand in the eyes of some by dramatizing the impact of stars taking games off to lessen the wear and tear of the season. One former player spoke out on what the numbers really show, though.
"We've gotten more data, and it just doesn't show that resting, sitting guys out correlates with lack of injuries, or fatigue, or anything like that," NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told The Athletic. "What it does show is maybe guys aren't as efficient on the second night of a back to back."
While the Raptors were looking to prevent Leonard from worsening the knee injury that limited him to a mere nine games in 2017-18, other teams have deployed load management tactics to sit one or more marquee players in significant regular season games when they aren't dealing with obvious injuries.
The NBA has attempted to crack down on that by setting a new games-played requirement for individual awards and it will issue hefty fines to teams that rest players deemed "" beginning this 2023-24 season.
Whether these changes will emphasize the importance of regular-season games and improve the NBA's overall product remains to be seen.