Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Voices Opinion on Load Management

Mark Cuban

Getty Images Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

The debate about load management dominates all other discussions in the NBA at this moment. Everyone is talking about whether it’s right or wrong for organizations to take this approach. Though already a popular subject, the conversation blew up when the Los Angeles Clippers decided to sit superstar Kawhi Leonard in their nationally-televised game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Fans wanted to see a rematch between the reigning NBA Finals MVP in Leonard and the 2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Because of the end result, the debate escalated quickly.

From players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden and former star Kobe Bryant, it was the hot-button topic. Most recently, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban voiced his opinion on the debate.

Per ESPN Cuban said, “it’s the best thing to ever happen to the league.”

Cuban elaborated on his words and brought up science to support his thoughts. He said it’s “all data-driven.” The Mavs owner then explained his thought process by getting even more thorough.

“We’re not going, ‘OK, let’s just mess with the league and our meal ticket to fans to do something just because it might be interesting. We spend so much money, not just on analytics for predictive reasons, but also for biometrics so we know how smart we can be.”

Though everyone has seemed to voice their opinion on the matter, the discussion is still active. Whether people bring up science or they talk about how it’s unfair to fans, there are varying opinions and arguments on both sides.

The Science Behind Load Management

Load management isn’t a new term that just sparked revolt out of nowhere. The majority of people that suffer any type of injury will typically rest. So, what sets these NBA athletes apart from the rest of the general public?

While they are making millions of dollars, their bodies obviously need rest as well. ABC7 details the NBA’s science behind load management with an interesting evaluation.

“Those who work in the field are confident that incurring loads that stretch an athlete beyond his capacity — everyone’s capacity is different — greatly increases injury risk. It is rare to find a sports scientist or performance specialist who believes that the NBA season doesn’t require some attention to load management to assure that a player has a chance to be at peak performance in the postseason.”

Players aren’t sitting out just to sit out. They are sitting out so they can play to the best of their abilities in the postseason. As for Leonard, the player who sparked this controversy, he is sitting out to rest his knee. And, as some analysts argue, no one knows the health of Leonard’s knee better than himself and his doctors. If the doctors believe rest is the best approach to take, that is probably what he needs.

Cuban supported these thoughts and said, “The dumb thing would be to ignore the science.”

Players Who Use Load Management

Kawhi Leonard

Getty ImagesKawhi Leonard for the Los Angeles Clippers

The most popular player to use load management often is Leonard. It appears fairly likely that he’ll sit out on one end of all scheduled back-to-back games this season, or at least for the foreseeable future. This is entirely due to the fact that the two-time finals MVP is determined to deliver the Clippers their first championship win this season.

Following the Clippers’ decision to sit Leonard during the Clippers vs. Bucks game, the team was fined $50,000, per USA Today. The league ruled that the team was consistent with their rules, but comments made by head coach Doc Rivers were not. Rivers previously made the comment that Leonard “feels great.”

Leonard, who obviously supports the idea of load management voiced his disappointment. He said, “It’s just disappointing. It feels like they [NBA] want players to play even if they’re not ready.”

Though Leonard is the face of load management, he isn’t the only player that uses it. According to NBC Sports, players like LeBron James, Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis took games off to rest last season, though not to the extent of Leonard.

“Top 10 players, on average, rested about seven percent of its games last season (every six games or so) and most often at the end of the season in preparation for the playoffs. (The company’s top 10 criteria is based on their internal metrics).”

There is no denying that there are flaws in the load management system. Fans do deserve to see what they pay for and players do deserve to rest when necessary. Leonard, aka the king of load management, is most likely going to continue resting when he and his doctors feel it is necessary, and other players are probably going to follow suit as well. Fans will have to wait and see if all of this was worth it in the postseason.