The NBA is extremely competitive, and you have to hang on to be able to keep up with it. According to a multiple champion, in a particular field, it is possible to make the difference between athletes… and this one has been the subject of discussion for some time..
The league has changed a lot over the past few years, and not just at the level of player empowerment, which has strengthened the position of players vis-à-vis franchises. For about a decade, another trend has made its way into the heart of game tactics: load management, allowing coaches to rest their best players in a totally impromptu way during the regular season. An effective method to preserve them, but which can harm the entertainment offered to the fans present in the room during the matches.
However, this does not prevent stars like Kawhi Leonard to regularly resort to such practices. In order to prevent this from escalating, the NBA has considered reducing the density of the calendar. For example, there was talk of going from 82 regular season games to only 75 games. A suggestion which however does not pass at all with certain big names of the orange ball. Andre Iguodala was resolutely opposed to it, on Evan Turner’s podcast:
Andre Iguodala against the reduction of regular season games
We will continue to play 82 games until 3005. We cannot change the season to 82 games. 82 games… there is a mental side to that. That’s why we talk about the rookie wall. Records are made to be broken, and as we improve we will break more records. But I think there’s a basis in all sports, you have to carry on that tradition… 82 games, I think that separates the men from the kids.
The floor of our league represents the bare minimum for what an NBA player should be, and the requirements at this level have dropped. I think that has to change, and the mental side has to be part of that change. We are getting younger and younger, but we had grown men playing almost every game. I mean, John Stockton missed what, 15 games in 20 years?
The argument of the quadruple champion is eloquent, especially when referring to the legendary leader of Jazz, known to be a marathon runner on the floors. Iggy thinks the league shouldn’t make it easier for its players, who are expected to be fierce competitors. An approach shared by many of his peers, such as Grant Hill for example. A few weeks ago, he had precisely broached the subject during an interview with the MVP of the 2015 Finals:
It’s almost like I was saying to someone the other day, “ok, now we’re going to change marathons because it’s so hard to run a marathon”. Except that not in fact, the season is supposed to be difficult. And part of the challenge is to stay healthy and build some resilience to be in this situation where you are now, where you are in the playoffs and in the Finals. So I reluctantly accept the workload, but shorten the season? No, I have a problem with that.
Andre Iguodala and Grant Hill say it clearly, the regular season should not be shortened to 82 games. This is a critical endurance test for any NBA player, so setting a shorter schedule would be tantamount to making it easier for athletes. Out of the question for the Warriors veteran, in particular.