Load Management: ESPN Analyst Reveals Why NBA Should Reduce Schedule

Kawhi Leonard

Getty Images L.A. Clippers star, Kawhi Leonard resting during game.

Load management has been a loaded term in the NBA this week.

No pun intended!

The Los Angeles Clippers have been the posterchild for criticism having rested their All Star, Kawhi Leonard twice this season.

Leonard sat out of LA’s nationally televised home game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

According to the Washington Post’s Ben Golliver, Leonard is “suffering from an ongoing injury to the patella tendon in his left knee.”

On Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Los Angeles Clippers were fined $50,000 for comments made by Coach Doc Rivers about the Finals MVP’s status that “were inconsistent with Leonard’s health status.”

Rivers suggested Wednesday that Leonard was healthy. “He feels great,” Rivers said earlier that day.

“He feels great because of what we’ve been doing. There’s no concern here. I think Kawhi made a statement that he’s never felt better. It’s our job to make sure he stays that way. That’s important. He played a lot of minutes in the playoffs last year. It’s not a health thing. It is, in some ways. We want him to just keep feeling better.”

But then Leonard didn’t play.

Boom!

There’s the fine.

Load Management has been an ongoing debate. How much rest do NBA players need in an 82-game NBA season?

That’s just the season. Then there’ the NBA Playoffs and a potential NBA Finals appearance too.

Taking a cursory look at even the NFL, it is believed that Kansas City Chiefs runningback LeSean McCoy could be out today with…You guessed it!

Load Management!

For those keeping score at home: McCoy suffered an ankle injury earlier this season. The former Philadelphia Eagle and Buffalo Bull has played 12 or more games in each of his first 10 seasons in the league.

This season, McCoy has rushed for 371 yards and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile back at the ranch: I caught up with ESPN Outside The Lines host, Jeremy Schaapp and got his thoughts on load management in the NBA.

Check out our Q&A below:

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson:
Load management is topic at hand these days. The Los Angeles Clippers were fined ($50,000) for the whole Kawhi Leonard thing. The rapper Nas had a song called ‘If I Ruled the World.’ If you ruled the world for the day, how would you run load management in the NBA?

Jeremy Schaapp:
Look, I think in some ways it’s the best interest of the league not to have guys playing 82 games when they are so valuable to what their teams can do. I think you can’t expect anybody in this day and age where they’re playing all out so much to play 82 games. I think it’s incumbent upon the league to reduce the schedule, reduce the back-to-backs, reduce the travel, figure out a way to make everybody happy. I think there’s a way to do it. But if you take away the load management, you take away that terminology, they’ll just come up with something every week…this guy tweaked his knee at warmups or something like that…they’ll find ways, like they do in the NFL to rest guys when it’s necessary. I mean it’s a tough game. I know what a lot of people are saying. Doris Burke says, it’s ridiculous because it’s a national game. She might be right, she [Doris] knows a lot more about it than I do. But I also understand that each game in the regular season have so little value in terms of where teams go in the playoffs, seeding or whatever that the health of the players make more sense. The physical health, everybody needs a day off from work sometimes. They get a lot of days off…and I get it. But I’m not just going to say they’re going to be in every game….


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