I don’t think we’ll be seeing Bam Adebayo sitting out games due to load management any time soon. The Miami Heat All-Star forward recently shared his opinion on players around the league who often miss games due to load management, and he’s certainly not a fan of the concept.
During an appearance on the “To Inspire” podcast, Adebayo shared why he doesn’t agree with load management.
“A lot of guys sitting, like load management, that kind of bothers me in a sense,” Adebayo said. “You have a lot of kids and parents who want to see you play. You have kids who probably come from the inner city, and their parents make a way to put them all the way up in the stands, and then for you to find out you’re not playing. And it’s because you feel like ‘I gotta load manage and be prepared, ready for this.’ I remember as a kid, I would’ve gave my last dollar and my foot to go see Kobe Bryant play. I know if I felt like that it’s a lot of other kids that felt like that.”
It’s not surprising Adebayo thinks that way about load management, because over his six years in the NBA he averages 70 games a season. He’s only played fewer than 60 games just once, and that was due to injury which forced him to miss a month-and-a-half. Adebayo also isn’t the only player who has spoken out in opposition of the practice, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star guard Anthony Edwards also shared a similar opinion during All-Star Weekend in February.
However, load management often doesn’t come from a player necessarily wanting to sit out of a game, it’s typically a decision made by several parties including coaches, the training staff and player. Golden State Warriors MVP guard Stephen Curry shared back in January the misconception around load management when this debate was at its height.
“I campaign to play every game,” Curry said. “That’s the misconception about load management and how it goes. It’s never the player that’s saying, ‘Hey, I want to sit.’ For all those people worried about that part of our league and all that, it’s usually not the player that’s going to the training staff and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t have it tonight.’ It’s usually the other way around and there’s a lot of science involved.”
Kawhi Leonard is regularly criticized for load management, however he’s struggled with injuries for several years, so not playing every back-to-back game makes sense. The same goes for someone like LeBron James, who despite incredible durability for most of his career, has dealt with injuries in recent seasons. That’s resulted in James missing games due to load management so his body isn’t overworked during the regular season.
It’s admirable that Adebayo is thinking about the fans who could potentially miss their favorite player in action, but it’s not as if most guys want to just sit out. This might be one of those moments where once a player has been in the league for over a decade you start to see the value in trying to preserve your body in order to extend your career. So perhaps we’ll revisit this when Adebayo is in Year 15 and see what he thinks then.