NBA – Including the games played requirement in qualifying for MVP and other awards would be an excellent idea. Where it hurts, hit them.
It is the premise of a concept that targets the overuse of load management by linking NBA grants to games played for the players vying for them, as first reported by The Athletic.
Despite being vague, the idea centers on having many appearances, a significant element for the essential awards each season.
Load management has become excessive. Fans miss out on seeing their favorite stars repeatedly because of rest-pretend injuries. More examples exist for a list.
Here, the NBA has a significant issue. Despite being vague in its details, the proposal put forth in the media has some promise.
However, when the concept of using rewards to push players to play more games was brought up in discussions with decision-makers across the league, two consistent replies emerged: It’s a wise choice. And there is little possibility that it will even succeed.
One executive told CBS Sports, “something tells me athletes won’t care at the end of the day.”
Another executive said, “NBPA will never permit it because those playoff honors impact too many players’ contracts, and agents utilize them to establish benchmarks and worth during contract negotiations.”
All true. And because of this, a league that has done a tremendous job maintaining a good relationship with the players union and a solid sense of mutual respect between the association’s commissioner and its stars must take firm action.
The NBA has some political clout as a result of these two factors. It’s time to use it.
The league should prioritize combating load management, battle mightily to make it happen, and do it in the most extreme methods imaginable.
The NBA, as a product, is doing well. While LeBron James set the all-time scoring record 20 years into an incredible career, it is bursting with young stars rising. Since Larry Bird in the early 1980s, Nikola Jokic has been attempting to win the MVP award for three years. Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo want to solidify their reputations. The Suns are now a must-watch squad as Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant, and Joel Embiid are all vying for their first championship while Kevin Durant joins yet another superteam.
Yet, must-watch games only succeed if the finest players participate in them. It depends on the stars in a sport that also doubles as an entertainment industry to operate effectively and efficiently, fair or not. It’s time to start linking the game’s awards to the idea that availability is an excellent skill and business strategy.
The Most Valuable Player award will come first.
Only Bill Walton, who played 58 games back in the 1977–1978 season, has ever won an MVP award during an 82-game regular season without playing at least 71 games. 35 MVPs participated in at least 80 of the 82 games in the previous 52 82-game NBA regular seasons.
So, the 35 out of 52 figure sounds respectable or decent, but look more closely at the numbers. Walton was the only MVP of the 1970s to play fewer than 80 games. Hence 80 games were played by 90 percent of award winners. The ratio fell to 70% in the 1980s. Only four MVPs surpassed 80 games in the previous ten 82-game seasons, which you can observe by going back in time.
Stars making an appearance in games is a problem. Still, as some NBA personnel noted following The Athletic’s article, it’s likely also crucial to connect minutes to this barrier in addition to games.
One advisor to a Western Conference team said, “What stops a player from playing two minutes in a game they would ordinarily load manage, and then [sitting]?
If this were to occur, there is a danger that players wouldn’t care enough to alter their routines. So, the NBA should vigorously pursue this concept.
A 70-game cutoff seems reasonable and solves a real issue. The Western Conference team adviser also recommended a 30-minute minimum per game. I feel right once more.
By this metric, the MVP race for this season would come down to Jokic and Tatum. By historical standards for an MVP and the better business practices the league and its players should promote, the other contenders for the award this season are on pace to participate in too few games.
Embiid is on pace to participate in 64 games this season after participating in 44 of the Sixers’ 56 games. Giannis has expected to play in all 66 regular-season games for the Bucks. At his current rate, Doncic will play 68 games for the Mavericks.
That is outrageously too few games for players of that caliber, at least those being mentioned as probable MVP winners. And there are other ways to encourage guys to hit the dance floor outside the competition for this particular honor.
You can also include Comeback Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. They are all. But continue. Add the first, second, and third NBA All-Star teams to this. Ensure that players who aspire to make the NBA’s All-Rookie and All-Defensive teams contribute equally to the games they play.
It will be complex to win over the players association, agents, and other groups with incentives to maintain the status quo. Yet some fights are worthwhile for the league and players involved. They divide the money the company brings in, and while this idea is unpopular, it would still be profitable for everyone.
The NBA is a league for stars. Also, everyone becomes weaker without them on the ground as frequently as feasible. Now that All-Star weekend is approaching, Adam Silver must make this trial balloon his office seemed to send up into a harsh, cold reality as the league and the NBPA consider a new CBA and all the details that will entail.