Andrew Gilman

It used to be so much better when November basketball mattered more

It used to be so much better when November basketball mattered more

Sorry you don’t get to see Kawhi Leonard play the other night.

That’s some really bad luck. Sucks you spent all that money and all you were able to get was a “I went to see Kawhi Leonard play and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt,” freebie. 

If only Kawhi could be convinced of your very compelling case about how all he does is “play a damn game that you would “play for free,” well, perhaps he would change his mind. Have you texted him, or just put your thoughts on Twitter?

After all, he owes it to little Timmy and Johnny, but most of all, he owes it to you. You’re the one who pays for the tickets and the popcorn and the $9 Bud Lights. He needs to get out there and run the floor so you can cheer him or boo him or watch your phone instead of actually watch the game as he plays.

I mean, that’s the least he can do in a November game, at the infancy stage of an 82-game season where the playoffs are four-plus months away, in a matchup you won’t even remember to think about in April. 

“Load Management” is a joke. You and I and everyone else we spend our time golfing, gaming and drinking with don’t get the option of taking a random Tuesday off. It’s ridiculous. Hotel room to hotel room, private planes and basketball games aren’t like the real world. I mean Kawhi’s only job is to go out there and shoot a basketball. How hard could it be to show up and do only that? 

Forget about the Knicks and the Cavs and whoever else who have spent all their time, money and energy trying to figure out how to lose. The real problem is Kawhi and LeBron and soon-to-be Paul George saving their energy and their bodies for another day. 

It’s much better for Cavs to slug through another losing season, directionless and hopeless than it is for a player with a history of injury and also a history of success on how to deal with injuries, to rest in a game that ultimately matters little. 

It’s November, and I get it, you’re ready to pass judgement, stomp your feet and shout to the heavens about how Michael Jordan didn’t take a day off and how John Stockton played 14 seasons without missing a single game, never saw his family and didn’t do anything but hold a basketball on his hip, looking for an unlocked gym so he could practice jumpers.

You’re right. Things should go back to the way they were when players flew commercial, could actually foul people and football players knew what it was to hit a receiver who dared to try and catch a pass over the middle.

Analytics be damned. Playing a back-to-back this week is important and injuries are random, and wearing a seatbelt? Forget it. I know. You’ve told me. You never wore a seatbelt growing up and helmet laws are soft, put in place by the PC crowd who think Participation trophies are just as valuable as the end of the season championship trophy. You’re a survivor. You got through it, so, yeah, a basketball player you’ve never met, playing a game you play with your buddies at the Y during your lunch hour, can’t be that difficult.

You’re right. You’ve convinced me with your, “back in my day,” argumentation. Back in your day concussions weren’t important and working in coal mines wasn’t dangerous. Back in your day we knew so much more than we know now, the science was better and the data was pure.

You’re right. It is better to try and win in November than it is in June. 


Andrew Gilman

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