The NBA is back, but it’s clear that not everyone is firing on all cylinders. Or, perhaps more accurately, they don’t want to do that just yet. After a Friday night slate that featured an excellent nationally televised game in each conference, things took a bit of a step back for the following day’s slate of games.
On Saturday afternoon, the news that various stars will sit for their night games started trickling out. Boston will sit Gordon Hayward, Toronto announced Kawhi Leonard will not play, and after leading Minnesota to a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, Jimmy Butler got the day off.
All of these make sense: Hayward is still coming off a serious leg injury that kept him off the floor all last season. Kawhi looked great on Friday night in a win over the Boston Celtics but also missed much of the last year with an injury that sparked his falling out in San Antonio. Butler did not play in preseason and had more than 30 minutes in each of the first two games of the season.