What is load management? The “culprit” that neither Doncic nor Irving played against Real Madrid puts the NBA under surveillance | satisfaction
When last Tuesday The Dallas Mavericks visited the WiZink Center to face Real MadridAll eyes were on one person: Luka Doncic. The Slovenian goalkeeper returned to play at home and at the club The noise Because his return was absolute. However, just minutes before the match started, news broke that left more than one person angry or frustrated at the Palace of Sports in the Community of Madrid. Luka Doncic will play reduced minutes (five minutes to be exact) due to an increased load on his left calf. Nails Inconveniences which, in truth, would not have prevented him from playing a normal game; But in this case they left him, like Kyrie Irving, off the court for almost the entire game. And There they started talking about the famous NBA load managementIt’s a practice that became popular more than a decade ago and the league is now trying to regulate it.
What does load management consist of?
Let’s start from the beginning: What is load management? It’s about the careful management that different NBA teams do to their players, Mainly from its big stars So they can play as many minutes as possible at a high level throughout the season. In theory, this is a decision made by the medical staff and physical coaches, although it is also said that the player had a lot to do with the decision. However, if we follow the words of Luka Doncic in Madrid, the truth is that we see the opposite.
“They wouldn’t let me play. I insisted. I couldn’t let people not see me.”
Luka Doncic said in front of the team microphones: “They did not allow me to play, they allowed me five minutes. I insisted. I cannot allow people not to see me. I will play a little slower.” Movistar+ In the pre-match. Once it was over, he reiterated that he was “very angry” at not being able to play, because he had “been waiting all summer for this match” and that “there is no one who wants to play more” than him. but, If it wasn’t really “dangerous,” why didn’t the Dallas Mavericks let him play? This is where the popular download manager comes in.
In the match Kyrie Irving wasn’t even wearing shorts -It was noticeable while sitting next to the bench thanks to his clothes that he had a comb stuck in his hair for a while-, in theory, due to some discomfort in his groin that he had been experiencing for several days, the Mavs did not want to run any danger. As is the case with Doncic. We must not overlook one hypothesis: In the NBA, players are a long-term product and investment Through which revenue can be generated, because at the end of the day, beyond sports, the NBA is a business and the franchises drive it. And what happens? Which The longer a star stays – and the better his fitness and physique is at the end of the season – the better, because the more money he makes.
Popovic, Tottenham and 2010
So, under this premise, we have to go back to 2010 to find the first time load management started to become popular. At the beginning of that decade, franchises began using these micromanagement practices with their superstars. More specifically, The pioneers were Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurswhen coach Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili sat out a prime-time game in 2012.
From there, This practice has spread to the rest of the franchises, or rather the stars.so much so that even It was said that there are scientific studies that have supported this practice to expand the quality of sports health Of players. In fact, NBA commissioner Adam Silver went so far as to say just a few months ago that he was reluctant “to express his opinion on the question of whether players are playing enough because there is real medical and scientific data about what is appropriate.” .) The world we were living in where it was just ‘go out and play through injuries’, for example, I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
“I hesitate to comment on the question of whether players are playing enough because there is medical and scientific data.”
There are two basic pieces of information: first, that Only nine players played in all 82 regular-season games last season; The second one Of the top 50 scorers last season, only 12 played in at least 70 of the 82 matches.. This way, LeBron James, Joel Embiid, or Kawhi Leonard — the one who would have used it the most — used load management to reduce their minutes. And what was happening? Something similar to what happened with Doncic and Irving at WiZink: The disappointment and anger of many fans who paid an exorbitant sum to watch the match for the team’s stars Those who are finally left unseen. What is the reason for this? Let the NBA take action on this issue.
Measures taken by the NBA
Firstly, In 2020, after COVID-19, fines of up to $100,000 were imposed For those franchises that have amassed that many stars without playing in nationally televised games (although that was somewhat more testament). After that too They have imposed a minimum number of matches played in order for players to be eligible for individual prizes of the league (65 games to be a candidate for All NBA or other awards). And now, the rule that puts an end to load management.
That new rule stipulates that All-Stars — considered as such those who have been an All-Star or All-NBA in the past three years — They will not be able to rest for matches broadcast on national television and the number of stars who are “rested” for each match will also be controlled: only one. Franchisees who do not comply with the rule will be punished with $100,000 the first time, and $250,000 the second time…and from there, a million will be added to the previous number for each new violation of the regulations.
Science in February… against science in October
But, of course, this meant a real revolution. Because if a few months ago it was Adam himself Silver said there is “scientific data” to support load management… How has everything changed now? It sparked controversy and the NBA’s response was simple: Science now says that load management has no real connection to injury prevention and players being able to extend their careers.
“More data has been obtained and it does not show that rest and sitting are associated with the absence of injuries or fatigue or anything like that.”
NBA Executive Vice President of Operations
As NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars said last Wednesday, “More data has been coming in and it doesn’t show that rest and sitting are associated with an absence of injuries or fatigue or anything like that. (…) What it shows is that players may not be as effective the second night in a row. The game.” He added that players should want to play as many matches as possible.
Whether science is within our grasp or not, the reality is so The NBA is too big a business to “lose” money because fans stop going to games because the stars aren’t playing. Above all, when the current television contract expires in just two years and negotiations on its renewal are already underway. And you know, the more stars play, the bigger the spectacle, the higher the expectation, the more money… and the bigger the rights amount.