Something that has become more prevalent over the last few years in the NBA has been teams resting players simply for fatigue. It is something the league and Commissioner Adam Silver have been looking to combat as it has often lead to star players being out for marquee match-ups on national TV.
One of the main ways the NBA is trying fix this is by changing the schedule. This year they moved the start of the regular season up by a week to decrease the amount of back-to-back games each team plays.
Additionally, they have planned the schedule around nationally televised games, so no teams are playing the second night of a back-to-back on national TV.
One person who is not a fan of the NBA’s schedule changes is Turner Sports analyst and former NBA great Charles Barkley. He recently spoke at Southern Methodist University and bashed the NBA, via ESPN:
“I am so angry — angry — at the NBA for [not] telling these guys, ‘Wait a minute, we’re paying you guys 30, 40 million dollars and you can’t play basketball two days in a row?’ I think it’s a travesty that the NBA didn’t just tell these guys to play basketball two days in a row,” he said. “Moving the season up, it’s just a joke to me.”
Barkley pointed out that when he was playing, players “flew commercial and we were able to play back-to-back.”
“I’ve sat with older guys who took trains and played three days in a row,” he said. “I think it’s a joke and travesty that these guys won’t pay back-to-back games with all the private jets and stuff that they get. The NBA caved in, instead of making them play back-to-back games. … I think it’s a joke.”
While Barkley has a point regarding the improvements in travel, it is not the NBA’s fault that coaches have begun deciding to rest their players to keep them fresh for the playoffs, so the league did what it had to do to combat that.
There have also been a number of studies that point to fatigue and these types of situations as contributing to major injuries. Any way the league can oppose that, they will certainly do it.
In addition to reducing back-to-backs, the NBA has also gotten rid of situations such as four games in five nights and five games in seven nights. Barkley might not be happy with it but it is clear that Silver is doing whatever possible to put the best product on the court night in and night out.