NBA players are feeling the strain more than usual this season, as league and franchise bosses try to eek every last drop of sweat out of them
Franchises and teams, no matter what league they compete in, are always stretched to their limit when the business end of a season nears.
This is particularly obvious in European football leagues, where injuries mount for lesser teams with smaller squads and for bigger teams who compete for honors across more competitions.
Until recently this issue had not affected American sports leagues too much, with player unions usually striking down any attempts to increase the fixture load, and leagues like the NBA and MLB already demanding a huge amount of playing time from their top pros anyway. However, this season those demands have increased in the NBA, as the average amount of games played in a regular season week now comes in at 3.6 rather than the previous 3.42.
Here we take a look at exactly how this uptick in weekly tipoffs has affected the top franchises as well as star players such as Lebron James and James Harden.
Nets Triple Threat Rarely Seen in Tandem
One of the league’s most exciting rosters in recent years has been pieced together by former All-Star Steve Nash with the team boasting household names such as James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin.
While Nets fans have certainly been treated to a marked uptick in form from their team this season, they have been starved of seeing these players all operating at the same time.
This has mainly been down to congestion-induced injuries. Durant’s hamstring has been strung tighter than a violin, a curse that Harden appears to have contracted, and Irving has been kept from the parquet by issues away from sport just to make things worse.
While they may all be able to put up a united front when the playoffs roll around, there is no doubt that many such veteran players are struggling to keep up with the rigors of the modern game.
Lakers Drained by Injuries to Star Players
Although the betting odds show that the Lakers will probably still saunter into the playoffs this season, that only tells a fraction of the story that has gone down in LA this term.
That is because Lebron James and Co. were slated by many betting tipsters and experts to dominate the Western Conference, but that has been far from the case, as the schedule pileup has seen both James and Anthony Davis laid up for long stretches of the campaign. Of course, many NBA betting tips columns and articles will still be backing this experienced roster to come good in the post-season, but sometimes it is not easy to just turn the genius tap on and off when you feel like it, no matter what the odds say.
With many of the league’s top stars being quite advanced in years, there is no doubt that the increased fixture schedule will bring some glittering careers to an abrupt end
Clippers Clipped by Injuries
The Lakers are not the only LA-based team struggling with juggling their schedule and rotating their roster accordingly, because their neighbors in LA have also been having issues.
By his own admission Paul George is walking wounded through virtually every game he plays, and key figures such as Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley have both had long stints on the side-lines with various maladies. To their credit, the Clippers have managed to maintain a high standard in the Western Conference, but it remains to be seen for how long they can keep papering over the cracks.
Increased Schedule Dilutes Quality of Competition
Even though we have only noted the trials and tribulations of three franchises here, there are many more which are suffering just as much if not more.
The worry in the long term is that by pushing players to the limit week after week, the NBA may be shooting itself in the foot by diluting their brand, which is normally connected with only the highest quality basketball.
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