Minutes Management and the Evolution of Player Rest in the NBA

Omar Zahran
7 min readNov 4, 2023

The NBA’s new rules on games played requirements for awards could lead to a shift from load management to minutes management, which would benefit players, fans, and bettors alike

The NBA has been tackling an issue for a few years that it just can’t seem to solve. The bulk of its fans and players love the NBA playoffs, but the same cannot be said of the regular season. Fans on social media will tune in come May and June but will often tune out in the winter months, with interest starting to rise after the All-Star break. Players in turn, playing in half-full arenas have started to miss more games in the name of load management, a term that has entered into the lexicon of most sports fans.

This season, the NBA has made efforts to try and make more fans care more about the regular season and to make players and teams care more about it as well. The first step was to implement the new in-season tournament, a measure to make regular season games in November and December more meaningful. The second measure, has been to place a qualifier of 65 games played for a variety of awards and All-NBA selections. Due to the contract implications of these honors in many cases, the thinking is that load management will be minimized and players that are healthy will play even if it is on a Wednesday night in January. Ultimately, the NBA wants the regular season to matter and for that to happen its best players need to be made available. But lost in the games played requirement, is the potential for a loophole where players focus on total minutes played, which could be a win for both fans and players.

We’ll See Come Playoff Time

Every NBA season, fans seem to be tuned in to TNT’s national pregame show “Inside the NBA”. The show is critically acclaimed, having won 17 Sports Emmy Awards, and has become a part of basketball culture in the United States. A big reason for its popularity is the personality clash between Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Both men were household names in the NBA during the 1990s, but are viewed differently in the lens of all-time greatness. The…