Should Golden State Warriors Rest Players?
No team has been as good as the Golden State Warriors this NBA season, with the Warriors making a strong challenge for the best record in the history of the league. But with so much success early in the season leading to an early playoff berth, those around the league are now asking whether or not it would be smart for the Warriors to start resting some of their players to prepare for the NBA playoffs, where they will defend their championship.
Golden State Warriors’ Priorities
It is a given that success in the NBA playoffs is the most important thing to any club, and the Golden State Warriors are no exception to that. With that said, getting to experience playoff success is the result of multiple factors, which makes the decision to rest or not rest players more complex than it would be otherwise. In this case, it’s the desire to claim home court advantage that makes this decision a tough one for Golden State.
As it stands now, the Golden State Warriors have not lost a game in the 2015-2016 season at home. Therefore, earning home court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs would, while not necessarily guaranteeing the Warriors a championship, put the odds squarely in their favor. In order to get home court advantage, though, the Warriors need to keep the best record in the Western Conference, something that the San Antonio Spurs are just a few games behind them for.
With San Antonio still within striking distance, one could argue that Golden State has to finish the season strong to avoid relinquishing their lead to the Spurs and giving up home court. This would require the Warriors to play more games, which could wear them down physically as the playoffs went on, but would benefit them by having them play in a venue in which they haven’t lost more frequently.
Golden State Warriors’ Health
While the debate as to whether or not the Golden State Warriors should do everything they can to earn home court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs is an interesting one, it must also take into account the health of the Warriors. Any team that wants to win a championship needs to be healthy enough to do it, as the Cleveland Cavaliers proved by falling apart against the Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals. In this case, the health of Golden State’s superstar Stephen Curry is the important thing.
Curry has experienced ankle issues in his career, and has sat out three games this season due to various ailments, including one missed game due to an ankle injury picked up over the weekend in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. Without Curry, who will win his second straight most valuable player award after this season is complete, the Warriors would have a difficult time repeating as NBA champions.
There are a lot of layers to this situation for the Golden State Warriors, with the stakes being very high no matter what they choose to do in terms of resting their players or keeping them on the floor.
By: Jason M. Sanin