The gap between the NBA trade deadline and the playoffs is generally devoid of interesting storylines because we have a pretty good idea who will make the playoffs and the general range of seeds they will land in. But there can’t just be basketball without some debate point, so we have to come up with something to yell about.
The current hot topic in the NBA is over whether it’s bad for the league to have teams resting players. Jeff Van Gundy has gotten really mad about it on TV, LeBron James said there’s nothing the NBA can really do about it, Doc Rivers has offered a quick fix to help avoid it on national TV games and Charles Barkley has voiced his displeasure. Commissioner Adam Silver has even threatened “significant penalties” against teams that rest stars.
Chris Bosh also has thoughts on the issue, and his reasoning is simple. Bosh told the Associated Press that players that are healthy and can play, should play.
“I can see it in some instances,” Bosh said. “But then at the same time, if you can play, play. When there’s so much work to do, it’s kind of hard to see why guys would take time off. With that said, from a player’s side, the schedule is intense. But I guess that’s part of being in the NBA. And I think what happened was when young guys start saying ‘Oh, rest,’ that kind of brought it to a tipping point a little bit.”
It should come as no surprise that Bosh, who has had his playing career paused for a year and a half (and possibly ended) by blood clots, would feel like players should embrace their opportunity to play basketball every game they can. While his standpoint is understandable, and he certainly makes one of the more impactful arguments of all of those on the anti-rest side, part of the problem with the “play if you’re healthy” argument is that healthy is a very relative term.
There are guys healthy enough to play, but who could play at a higher level if they had a little more time to rest to allow an ankle or a knee or whatever to heal a bit more. This was the argument Tyronn Lue used in resting Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving against the Clippers (although resting LeBron James was to simply give him a day off from the rigors of the season).
The frustrations are understandable from the anti-rest crowd, but at some point we’re going to have to accept that teams are going to do everything they can to be at their best for the playoffs. If rest is something that can give them a little edge, then they’re going to do it.