Patrick Beverley is the latest player to share his opinion on the plague of healthy players resting in the modern NBA. Beverley is firmly in the “no-rest” camp. Via ESPN:
“I could care less about coaches asking players to rest or not. It’s up to you to play or not, and if you don’t, you’re disrespecting the game. And I don’t believe in disrespecting the game, because there was a time where I wasn’t playing in the NBA and I was trying to get here. So me resting, I feel like, is disrespecting me, disrespecting the name on the front of the jersey and disrespecting the name on the back of the jersey.”
This is kind of like when a professional athletes get mad at someone with an differing opinion who has never played professional sports. Patrick Beverley, like you and I, is not qualified to have an opinion on NBA players playing every day because he has never done it. During his first four seasons in the NBA, Beverley played in 41 (he joined the Rockets in January), 55, 56 and 71 games. This year he’s missed 14 games. When you think about it, missing games with injuries is really just resting to allow those injuries to heal. And maybe regular rest really is the way to fight off those nagging injuries and miss fewer games?
“It’s not about my rest … it’s about the leadership that I show to my teammates and this entire organization and my fans,” Harden told reporters at Tuesday’s practice. “I’m blessed. I’m 27 years old and I’m able to play basketball at a high level. It won’t be here for long, so I take advantage of the opportunity while I’m here and I just have fun doing something that I love.”
And last week (via ESPN):
“I’m a hooper,” Harden said. “I just want to hoop. I’ll rest when I’m done. I feel like my teammates and organization need me to go out there and do what I do. I get obviously paid for it, but it’s something I love. I enjoy the grind. I enjoy how hard it is. I think that makes you tougher. That makes you who you are.”
It sounds like the NBA needs to make a PSA about why players don’t take games off. Harden can say “for my team.” Beverley can say “for the fans, when I’m physically able.” Somebody else who plays can say something else. It’ll be great. It will bring great shame to the homes of LeBron James and Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr.
Of course, we’ll see if Houston’s approach changes next season if James Harden runs out of gas in the playoffs a month from now. Houston has lost in the 1st round of the playoffs in 3 of the 4 seasons Beverley and Harden have been there. Meanwhile, in those 4 seasons the Cavaliers, Warriors, Spurs and Miami Heat have won titles and been the only teams to reach the Finals. I wonder what they have in common.
Beverley’s heart is in the right place. He thinks if you’re able to play you should and that the fans who paid good money deserve that. Unfortunately, it certainly looks like you can either make all the fans a little happy or make your fans very happy.
As usual, Michael Jordan remains the ultimate outlier having missed just 4 games during the Bulls first 3-peat and 0 games during their second set of title runs. (To be fair Jordan did take off one and three-quarters of a season between those runs.) Until someone proves you can put that kind of wear and tear on your body and still win a title in the current NBA, resting players will remain the smart, but unpopular choice.