New NBA rule doesn’t impact the OKC Thunder, or anyone else

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The NBA is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube with their new player resting rules. That usually does not work; it is nearly as bad as crying over spilled milk. While this new rule does not impact the OKC Thunder, it does not really impact any team in the entire league.

Yes, the League has an issue. They are admitting as such with conjuring up this player rest rule in an attempt to minimize “load management,” putting the stars on the hardwood for more games, thus making the regular season more entertaining and allowing fans to get more bang for their buck.

NBA is set to crack down on players resting during the regular season, but like the other 29 teams, the OKC Thunder are not impacted by this move.

Recent NBA stars like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have made a laughing stock of the League’s 82-game regular season, preserving themselves on back-to-back sets or simply whenever they feel like a night off. While they are the poster players for this rule, they are not alone in taking these free off days.

While every fan would be in favor of this new rule if it were to work, setting up prime-time matchups and the ability to know without a shadow of a doubt who you are signing up to watch and you buy tickets or nestle on the couch during a cold winter night to watch some hoops, it ends up being word salad.

This rule does not hamper the Thunder because they only have one player with this qualification, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so they are never in danger of resting multiple “stars” each night by the NBA’s definition.

However, this rule won’t do much to stop load management. Teams just can not be as bold about it. Instead of listing Kawhi Leonard or Paul George as out with rest or load management, dub it an actual injury, such as “knee soreness,” regardless of whether it is applicable. Who can prove how sore George’s knee is beside himself? We have to listen to players about their bodies.

The NBA is also cracking down on teams sitting out star players toward the end of the season when their playoff contention is in heavy doubt, or they are outright eliminated.

Again, though, I ask, short of Mark Cuban and Jason Kidd outright telling the media last year they shut their players down to secure their first-round pick, how can the league decide what a player legitimately feels if you tab them as out for such a subjective injury that is totally up to the players’ discretion?

The only way in which this rule impacts the OKC Thunder is if, somehow, it works. While I am incredibly doubtful that it will, we saw last season as the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and Portland Trail Blazers shut their seasons down early; it opened up a cleaner path to the Play-in for the Bricktown boys. We also saw the OKC Thunder take advantage of a baseball-style series against the Clippers in the first three weeks of the season that saw Paul George and Kawhi Leonard combine for 31 minutes across the two-game sweep.

Next. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finally getting his flowers. dark