The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

DANIEL: I’m glad NBA Stars miss out if they miss games

The fan experience must be considered
Keith Allison
76ers at Wizards 2/25/18 via Wikimedia

This past offseason the NBA added a rule for award selections: to be eligible for any Award/All-Star team and All-NBA team you must play a minimum of 65 out of the season’s 82 games. They implemented this rule due to the number of stars sitting out of the regular season games due to “load management”, a practice recently popularized for star players to avoid overexertion in the regular season.

Fans have been complaining about load management, as they are paying to watch stars like LeBron James,  Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard play but often don’t get to see them because the player is “tired” or managing a minor injury. 

The NBA and the NBPA (Players Union) agreed on this rule change this past offseason. That hasn’t stopped players from coming out and voicing their opinions. Most recently Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics came out and said that while he gets the point of making players play more games, 65 games is “too severe”.

Another player who voiced concern is All-Star Tyrese Haliburton, who said that it’s a “stupid rule” and they only do it because the owners have to be happy. I disagree with this because the NBA is among the most player-owned leagues in America in terms of players getting what they want and being able to advocate for what they want in terms of their contracts, location and social or political issues.

I don’t get it at all. If you’re paying me $45 Million a year to play basketball, I am showing up every day. 

Where most of the frustration for this rule comes from is that a player can miss out on awards. NBA contracts are almost all guaranteed, but you can earn the right to sign a much larger “max” or a “supermax” extension if you hit a certain amount of All-Star or All-NBA selections. 

Some players have voiced out how they feel pressured to come back from injury so they can get the maximum amount of money when it comes time for contract negotiations. 

The face of this issue has been Joel Embiid. He is one of the most injury-prone superstars in the modern era of the NBA, standing at 7 ‘1, weighing 280 lbs, and seemingly possessing the knees of a much older man. 

Embiid has battled injuries his whole career, but he finally won MVP last season while averaging over 30 points a game and was on pace for another this year.

Embiid famously misses matchups that some fans find to be suspicious. For example, he hasn’t played in Denver against reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic since 2019. Jokic is known to be Embiid’s biggest rival, for the past 3 seasons they have been neck and neck in the MVP race. The only time the two have gone head to head were games in Philadelphia. Embiid always receives injury designation before their matchups in Denver, most recently with only minutes left before the game began.  

Now, with the NBA implementing this rule, the number of games Embiid misses has been brought into question by fans and the media. ESPN and other media outlets started keeping track of how many games he was missing.

When he missed his 10th game this season ESPN ran a segment where former player Richard Jefferson accused him of dodging hard games such the aforementioned matchups in Denver.

The new rule has success stories to its name already, most notably in the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi Leonard has played 52 games in 2022, this season he has already played in 54 games and there are still 20+ games left to play. Kawhi’s co-star Paul George only played in 31 games in 2022 and played in 56 in 2023, this season though he has already played in 54 games as well

Detractors of the rule already have their storyline as well, though. Some players and fans say Embiid felt pressured to play against  the Golden State Warriors despite a recent knee injury to avoid missing too many games. 

During the game, Johnathan Kuminga and Embiid were fighting for a loose ball. Kuminga ended up falling on the very same knee Embiid had already injured. His MVP-leading season cut short, Embiid has missed every game since and will be far from the 65-game mark to be eligible for any award in the NBA when he returns.

I think the NBA hit the mark on the threshold players must pass to be eligible for awards. but the fans generate the revenue for the athletes to get paid the extreme wealth they do. As a fan, I want to see the best players play each other and not sit out unnecessarily. If a player is injured I have no issue with them sitting out, but I don’t want them sitting out for longer than is necessary just because they want to avoid a tough matchup or road trip. The fans pay far too much for that to happen.

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About the Contributor
Ibrahim Daniel is a multimedia broadcasting major, he is a die hard Seahawks fan. Ibrahim became a writer for the Daily Evergreen in spring 2024. A career goal of his is to be the next Stephen A. Smith, as well as to be an NFL General Manager one day.