April 20, 2024

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The Sports Fanatics

Warriors’ Steph Curry explains important misconception about NBA load management debate

After going off for 38 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists in the Golden State Warriors’ 128-120 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, Steph Curry weighed in on the load management debate, which has been raging across the league in recent weeks.

“I campaign to play every game,” Curry said. “That’s the misconception about load management and how it goes. It’s never the player that’s saying, ‘Hey, I want to sit.’ For all those people worried about that part of our league and all that, it’s usually not the player that’s going to the training staff and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t have it tonight.’ It’s usually the other way around and there’s a lot of science involved.”

Curry and the Warriors were the subjects of criticism earlier this month when the team rested him, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins for their lone trip to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers — a game that came on the second night of a road back-to-back. Warriors coach Steve Kerr called the decision a “brutal part of the business” and advocated reducing the schedule to 72 games. 

That game between the Warriors and Cavs was just one of many this season, and this month in particular, that have been ruined by stars sitting out — either due to rest or injury. Other notable showdowns we’ve missed include Nikola Jokic versus Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant against LeBron James. 

Every time there’s a string of incidents like this, the load management debate kicks off again. Often, it’s the players who bear the brunt of the criticism — from fans who have bought tickets to games only to find out that their favorite superstar isn’t going to be in action, but also media members and former players. 

While the current situation certainly is unfair for fans, Curry’s point is important and doesn’t get enough attention during these conversations. Sure, some players are just there to collect a check, but that’s no different than any job. The majority, though, are ultra-competitive and want to be on the floor as often as possible. 

But given the length of the season, the grueling travel schedule, and the thousands of miles they’ve put on their bodies throughout the years, it’s in their best interest to take certain nights off. Those rest spots are scheduled well in advance by the organizations’ sports medicine department and are based on serious science and data about player performance. The alternative is running them into the ground, which would result in more long-term injuries and shorter careers, and no one wants that. 

Barring a surprise decision by the league and the players to shorten the regular season in the next CBA, load management and the debates surrounding it will never go away. Likewise, neither will the divisions between the various camps, which are well entrenched at this point. But whatever side of the debate you’re on, it’s worth remembering Curry’s point next time the topic comes up.