Resting NBA stars is an issue that doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon. Conversations about how and when teams should be resting their best players came to a head this week.
During a Saturday Showcase game on ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James along with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Irving had a legitimate injury and Love had to be held out due to his minutes restriction due to his knee surgery earlier this year.
Fans and critics pounced on them after Steve Kerr had done the same in resting his stars against San Antonio the week before. Negative perception was beginning to take hold, so Adam Silver, the league commissioner, stepped in.
He issued a memo to team officials stating that there would be increased consequences for teams that rested stars without advanced notice. Now, a number of retired players, pundits and commentators have weighed in on the subject.
You can add Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder to the list of people who have put forward his opinion in this ongoing discussion.
He said: “I like to play basketball, so I like to go out and complete and have fun. For me, I look at it differently from being hurt, and missing a lot of games. I embrace every moment. I have an opportunity to play basketball, and I’m enjoying any time I can to get on the floor and play.”
Westbrook has had to miss significant time with knee injuries in the past, so it is no surprise that he relishes every time there is a chance to step on the hardwood. Still, he’s a lot younger than LeBron James.
Maybe when he logs somewhere near that many miles, he’ll change his tune. Until then he will play every minute he can, because the Thunder’s playoff hopes depend on it.