As Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards heads into his first All-Star Game on Sunday, he was asked by one reporter what he might change about the NBA if he had the ability.
For Edwards, there isn’t much he’d do. However, if he could, he would change one thing that has become a hot topic in recent seasons.
“Probably just all the guys sitting, resting,” Edwards responded. “That’s the only thing I probably don’t like. Just play, man. If you’re 80%, 70 – you gotta play. I don’t like all the sitting, missing games and stuff like that. These people might have enough money to come to one game, you know what I’m saying? That might be the game they come to and then you’re sitting out.
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“I take pride in trying to play every game because you never know if there’s one fan that might never seen me play and I’m trying to play.”
Load management for players has been something the NBA has teetered with for a bit. While they understand the importance of athlete fatigue, Edwards’ mindset is shared by many as well: Fans come to see the best players.
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During the 2019-20 season, we see it a lot with the Los Angeles Clippers, as they rested Kawhi Leonard and Paul George quite a bit. But players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler are just some that have also had rest days despite not being injured, as teams figure some regular-season games aren’t worth the chance a star player could get hurt.
The NBA decided during the 2020-21 campaign that healthy players were not allowed to sit out during nationally televised games, or during road games when “unusual circumstances” are not present. Those circumstances are a bit loose, but the emphasis is on the national TV games.
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If teams break that rule, they will be fined at least $100,000 in national TV scenarios.
It’s something you won’t have to worry about with Edwards, who has become a star in his early career with the Timberwolves. Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns are also big names in Minnesota.
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However, load management will likely continue to play a factor in teams’ strategies for the 82-game regular season.