A graphic flashed on the screen during Saturday night's ABC primetime matchup between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs illuminating the problem the NBA has in terms of resting its star players.
Three finals MVPs (Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Andre Iguodala)
Last three MVPs (Kevin Durant, Steph Curry)
2017 Western Conference All-Stars (Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Curry, Durant, Leonard)
2-time Defensive Player of the Year (Leonard)
Those were the players missing from Saturday's contest. Durant (knee) and Leonard (concussion) were out due to injury. Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge is out indefinitely after an occurrence of a minor heart arrhythmia. The other Warriors stars sat because coach Steve Kerr wanted them to rest.
Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy, on the call Saturday night with Mark Jackson and Mike Breen, took a very vocal stance against the league.
"Once again the fans are told, you don’t matter," Van Gundy said. "Pay us up front, we’ll take your money and then we’ll give you whatever product we want to."
Later he added: "If sports science really has a beat on what’s healthy for the players, then they need to tell the league how many games that is healthy for players to play and then only play that many games."
The Warriors, coming off a Friday night loss in Minnesota, have played in eight cities since Feb. 27th. Kerr said that he'd never seen a schedule that demanding in his entire time in the NBA.
Jackson, formerly the Warriors' coach, added: "(The practice) devalues the fans, but it also devalues the regular season. It's just a tough call."
Always outspoken, Van Gundy had more to say on the NBA's relationship with its broadcasting partners. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala made some pointed remarks following Friday night's loss to the Timberwolves, comments that Van Gundy and Jackson both deemed inappropriate and racially tinged.
"We’re supposedly partners with the league. We’re supposedly partners," he said. "We’re not. It’s one sided. We used to get access to players for paying a billion dollars. Now they don’t feel like they have to come in and we can’t ask them these questions because when you say stuff like that you should have to address them."