Warriors’ star forward Kevin Durant has missed four of the team’s last five games.
On Monday night, two-time MVP point guard Steph Curry also sat out.
The result? Golden State lost a 110-106 final against a Sacramento Kings team that won just its sixth game of the season, and would have no business competing with the Warriors if their two best players were in the lineup.
Though Durant has been nursing a sprained ankle, and Curry battling a bruised hand, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr has begun resting his veteran players regularly, beginning with David West, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Over the weekend, though, Kerr took one of the Warriors’ best players, Draymond Green, off the floor for a game, with the hope the extra recovery time would serve Green well come the playoffs.
On Wednesday morning, ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks joined Gary & Larry on KNBR, and told the hosts that while he understands the point of resting players who are nursing injuries, it’s not good for business to rest stars who fans come to watch.
“I don’t think it’s good for business, I think it depends on if there is an actual injury,” Marks said. “I know Durant and Curry have been out the last, at least Durant has been out the last couple of games here. The commissioner has gone out of his way to kind of start curbing this, but is this more for when we start playing some more ABC games and post-Super Bowl compared to maybe tonight against a Laker team.”
Under commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA has attempted to crack down on coaches who rest their stars, especially in games with a national television audience. By nature of the Warriors playing in three straight NBA Finals, Golden State opened the 2017-2018 regulars season having played games in 27 of the past 36 months. Though rules are in place to prevent the Warriors from resting multiple stars on the same night, Marks said the NBA also extended the schedule this season to help facilitate more natural rest days for players.
“If they’re nicked up and Steve Kerr wants to rest them, I certainly understand it but I think if it’s a continual trend and we see it all across the league, not just at Golden State, it’s something that we should be concerned about,” Marks said. “Especially a person who is paying a lot of money to go see these games with their family and they’re investing a couple hundred dollars, $300 to go see Kevin Durant and he sits out a game in Brooklyn let’s say, I think that was the scenario a couple of weeks ago. It is something concerning, I think with 82 games, they’ve tried to stretch this season out, add another week on to kind of curb some of these injuries but we’ve seen a lot of guys go down recently here.
To listen to Marks’ full interview on Gary & Larry, click the podcast link below. To hear Marks’ comments on the Warriors’ resting stars, skip ahead to the 1:30 mark.