Andre Iguodala (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Four-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala
said the league should never reduce its 82-game regular-season
Iguodala argued Friday on the Point
Forward podcast (via Lee Tran of Fadeaway World) being able to
survive the grind of an entire campaign is part of the challenge that separates players at basketball’s highest level:
“We gonna keep playing 82 games
until 3005. We can’t change 82 games. 82 games … there’s a mental
side of it. That’s why we talk about rookie wall. Records are made to
be broken, and as we get better over time we’ll break more records.
But I do think that there’s a foundation in all sports, you have to
carry on that tradition… 82 games, I do think you know it separates
the men from the boys.”
The 2015 NBA Finals MVP pointed to Utah
Jazz legend John Stockton, who played all 82 games in 16 different
seasons, as an example of what the standard should be:
“The bottom of our league is the
bar for the bare minimum the NBA player has lowered. I think that
needs to change and the part of this is the mental side of it. We’re
getting younger and younger, but we had grown-ass men playing in the
league. I mean, John Stockton miss what 15 games over 20 years.”
The phrase “load management” has
become almost synonymous with the NBA. Players regularly take games
off throughout the regular season for rest and recovery.
On one hand, it’s hard to blame players
for trying to reduce their injury risk and attempting to remain as
close to 100 percent as possible for the playoffs, which can feature
an additional 20-plus games if a team goes the distance.
Yet, the experience takes a serious hit
when the sport’s biggest names are out of the lineup for non-injury
reasons, especially when it comes to road games where opposing fans may only
get a chance to see the player in person once a season.
In July, NBA commissioner Adam Silver
jokingly blamed San Antonio Spurs CEO R.C. Buford for starting the
trend of load management as part of more serious remarks about the
Ben Golliver @BenGolliver
NBA commissioner Adam Silver on load management: “There’s nothing more frustrating also for our fans than having players, frankly, who aren’t injured following some program schedule for rest. I’m looking at [Spurs executive] R.C. [Buford], you started this all.” pic.twitter.com/AJTyHs4PX4
Last December, ESPN’s Adrian
Wojnarowski reported the NBA and the Players Association engaged in
discussions that would reduce the regular-season schedule to 78 games
but add an in-season tournament similar to those in European soccer.
While it would modestly shorten the
actual campaign, it’s unclear whether it would have any impact on the
topic of load management.
A reduction from 82 games
would also have an impact on all the records achieved since that length of
schedule was established in 1967-68.
Ultimately, while Iguodala is hoping tradition wins out
in the end, it appears changes may be on the horizon.
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