March 19, 2017

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 6 comments

I watched the Cleveland vs LA Clippers game last night, and heard the TV crew go on and on at length about the absence of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. This a week after the Golden State Warriors did the same thing at San Antonio, resting Stephan Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala. In Cleveland's defense, Irving was supposedly not feeling his best and Love was having his minutes limited as he came back from his injury. Still, when one pays a pretty steep chunk of change for a seat, he expects both teams to put forth their best product. To me, resting one's stars is the equivalent to substituting the Salisbury Steak for the advertised Filet Mignon without a commensurate price reduction.

So what can be done about it? Perhaps something similar to the NFL's policy on injury lists, where players are designated as 'out' or 'questionable' if there is any doubt about their ability to play. The NFL has several days prior to a game to make such announcements, while the NBA usually has only a day or 2, and sometimes less than that. My suggestion would be that teams be forced to announce at least 12 hours before a game any players who will be rested or unable to perform due to injury. If players are not injured, but are being rested, the home team will be required to offer full refunds to any patrons who request one. If it is the visiting team that is resting players, that team will be required to reimburse the home team for its loss of ticket sales plus a percentage that will reflect the loss of concession sales. I would like to see the NBA add a healthy fine whenever a team decides to rest a star player.

Something like the above is likely to lead to the faking of injuries, but if a player is required to sit out one game after being declared able to play, this might limit such a practice. The same could hold true for reducing a player's time on the court to what amounts to a cameo appearance. As a fan who is paying some of his hard earned cash to see a game, I have the right to a decent product. My experience is that most fans who come to see the home team select the games they want to attend based on who plays for the visiting team. If I lay out 3 or 4 hundred bucks per seat to see LeBron James or Stephan Curry, I don't want to watch their substitutes.

In the last 2 seasons, the Celtics have started a policy for their season ticket members that allows us to return a certain number of tickets per season. We do not receive cash for the returns, but we can use the value returned as credit toward seat upgrades, various fan experiences, and the like. i have up to 3 hours prior to tap-off to return any game. Thus, if I know that a player I would particularly like to see is not playing, and the game has no real interest for me as a result, I can turn it back. I do not know if any other teams have such a policy, but it is a good one. It applies to season ticket members only, so something like penalties for resting players is still needed.

posted by Howard_T at 01:57 PM on March 19

I took my three oldest boys to a Spurs game last spring when we were in the Hill Country for a vacation. Of course Pop decided to give Kawhi, Tony Parker and Duncan the night off (none were injured). My kids are still young enough (oldest was 10 at the time) that they enjoyed watching Aldridge and Manu stick it to a Memphis team whose best player on the night was Vince Carter (missing Conley and Randolph due to injuries), but I could easily see some major disappointment in similar circumstances in the future.

If the NBA really wants to cut back on this practice of healthy scratches of core players, the league should think about shortening the season, reducing/eliminating back-to-backs and 5-games-in-7-days-type situations, etc.

posted by holden at 05:28 PM on March 19

NBA is all about the stars; you go as far as your best players can take you. I'm not sure there is any incentive you can offer a genuine contender (Cavs, GS, Spurs) to keep their stars on the court if the team thinks their stars could use a night off.

posted by deflated at 09:27 PM on March 19

When Westbrook gets a night off, does it include a drip line?

posted by beaverboard at 09:54 PM on March 19

I'm not sure there is any incentive you can offer a genuine contender (Cavs, GS, Spurs) to keep their stars on the court if the team thinks their stars could use a night off.

I have no problem with resting stars.

I have a REAL problem if you rest ALL of the stars at once (if I was a paying customer of a team with stars), especially on the road (where a fan has a limited chance of seeing these stars in the first place).

Like you said, it's virtually impossible to enforce this kind of rule without some weird backlash/interpretation, but the NBA can't be happy with what happened with the Spurs/Warriors.

posted by grum@work at 10:39 PM on March 19

Oh man, not you too, Shaq!

posted by grum@work at 11:06 PM on March 19

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