April 29, 2012

Lessons from Derrick Rose's Season Ending Injury

After the first few games of the NBA playoffs, one thing is on my mind: playoff strategy in giving playing time to NBA superstars.

The NBA is a business and it has the responsibility for giving the basketball fans what they want-- and that is a competitive game with the superstars on them. Teams, therefore, should do their best to win games (*cough*Bobcats Tank*cough*). If that means putting the team's best players and stars on the floor during the games, especially in the playoffs.

In the case of the Chicago Bulls, coach Tom Thibideau insisted on playing Derrick Rose in the final minutes of their series opener against the Philadelphia 76ers, even though the game was going into Chicago's favor. In the final minute of the game, Rose tore his ACL and would be out for the rest of the post-season.

We all know tickets prices for the Los Angeles Lakers are some of the most expensive in the NBA and it gets harder to buy tickets when the playoffs come. (If you're looking to find floor seats to the Lakers, good luck-- they're all probably sold out.) So you'd expect the team, particularly Lakers coach Mike Brown to maximize Kobe Bryant to playoff victory.

In the NBA's shortened season, that is going to dangerous territory.

Kobe missed seven games late in the regular season and I think the Lakers should be cautious in playing him 38-40 minutes a game in the playoffs. The better move looks like relying on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol on the post (like giving them around 30+ field goal attempts per game) and giving Kobe around 32-35 minutes per game.

I'm not saying the Lakers should stifle Kobe, but rather save enough of his energy to go deep in the playoffs. NBA folks know the conditioning regimen that Kobe is going through, but 16 seasons and over 1,300 games (regular and post-season) should get folks scared a bit.

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