Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young aren’t injured, but Nets GM Sean Marks announced today that they will be held out of games for the rest of the season. The Kings began resting their best players earlier this week, and coach George Karl said Friday that DeMarcus Cousins won’t play any more road games this season.
Sacramento has incentive to protect its first-round draft pick, which will go to Chicago if it falls outside the top 10. The Kings are currently seventh in Hoops Rumors’ reverse standings with a 31-46 record, but only one and a half games separate them from 11th-place Orlando. The Knicks, Nuggets and Bucks are also in that mix. That’s likely why Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay were held out of last Monday’s game, along with Marco Belinelli, who has an aching right foot.
Brooklyn doesn’t have to worry about its first-rounder, which is already pledged to Boston with no protection. The Nets are more concerned about possible injuries to Lopez and Young, who are their most productive players and best potential trade assets. “I think two people had gotten injured playing in meaningless games finishing up the season,” Lopez said to ESPN.com’s Mike Mazzeo. “So [Marks] just wanted to take sort of a precautionary angle going forward.”
Resting healthy players isn’t a new issue in the NBA. Contending teams have been doing it for years, especially once their playoff fates are sealed. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been willing to risk league discipline for giving his stars a night off when he believes a grueling schedule calls for it. In 2012, he was famously fined $250K for leaving Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green in San Antonio for a televised game in Miami.
But resting players to keep them fresh for the playoffs is different than keeping them out to avoid losing a draft pick or to prevent a late-season injury. There are ethical concerns, especially when fans pay high ticket prices to watch stars perform. That leads us to tonight’s question: Should the NBA adopt new rules to prevent the resting of healthy players and should the Nets and Kings be punished for their actions?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.