Rest days important NBA Finals strategy

After the NCAA crowned the North Carolina Tarheels champions for the 2016-17 season, the spotlight has turned to the NBA playoffs. 

That means the stars are stepping up to secure home court advantage as teams enter the final week of the regular season.  

When we are not cheering them on, do we ever think of the effects such a strenuous season has on players? 

Doctors, teachers and pencil pushers need weekend breaks from their hectic work lives and we accept this. Professional basketball players, however, are held to a different standard. 

Over the years, the NBA has seen its star players rest for a only a game or two in the whole season. Is this bad? From a marketing standpoint, any game without the star players could hurt ticket prices and revenue. 

But an 82-game regular season can be excruciating to anybody, healthy or not. 

With the schedule NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has these teams playing, including back-to-back games sometimes in different cities, it can be challenging to get that 35-foot jump shot everyone in the stands wants to see go in on a nightly basis. 

“It sucks, there are some times guys have to rest and some guys need rest,” Cleveland small forward LeBron James said to NBC Sports after resting a game. “It’s a long, strenuous season, and the NBA does the best it can putting the schedule together, but you’re going to have back-to-backs and you’re going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights.” 

In basketball, the most entertaining part of the season begins around March and  continues into April. With March Madness over, it is an indication the playoffs are finally here. 

With players like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving, who have now been to two straight NBA Finals and on a run with Team USA, the road can be very long and may seem like there is no end. 

In his career with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James has been to six straight NBA Finals and one Olympic game. That is a lot of basketball. 

With rest, the quality of games we get from players will improve, and they won’t be gassed before the playoffs even start. So when Steve Kerr or Tyronn Lue and many other coaches sit their starting players for the playoffs, think of what games matter the most. The last regular season game or game seven in the NBA Finals. 

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