`We have another FanPulse update from both our league-wide surveys and from our local Rockets fan confidence survey.
First, we asked our FanPulse members at-large about the load management issue currently making noise across the NBA. The current patron saint of load management Kawhi Leonard is taking an old Gregg Popovich philosophy and pushing it into the national headlines, while guys like LeBron James and James Harden are basically scoffing at the idea, at least publicly.
So we asked our FanPulse participants two questions. First, how do you feel about load management?
There were three pre-loaded answers, and the top vote getter at 44.5 percent was “It’s a shame, but I get it.” That was followed in second place by “Teams and players are doing what’s needed to win. It’s not a problem,” with 37.7 percent. Finally, coming in last at 17.7 percent is “The NBA needs to take action now.”
These aren’t very surprising results to me, especially considering I would be voting for the top vote-getter myself. I totally understand why high-usage players would want to limit their load a bit during the regular season in order to be at peak performance when it matters most.
But I’m also a paying NBA customer. I purchase two league pass subscriptions — one for me personally and one for the site — and I also attend NBA games when I can (not always easy in the team-less city of Pittsburgh), and I, like most consumers, want the best value for my money. I want to see Kawhi. I want to see LeBron. I want to see The Beard. Especially if I’m buying a ticket to be there in person. So yeah, it’s a shame, but I do get why.
The second question we asked — What should the NBA do about load management — came back a little more surprising, in my opinion. The top answer with 48.7 percent was “Extend the season to eliminate back to backs.”
Second place was “Reduce the number of games in the season,” with 42.1 percent, followed by “push teams to play their stars as much as possible” with 9.1 percent.
In my opinion, extending the season, which won this poll, should be the last thing the NBA does. The season already runs from October through June, or 9 months out of the year. If you include training camps and free agency kick-off, it’s essentially 10 months on, two months off for the NBA year. Extending the season basically means year-round basketball with no offseason, and as much as I love the game, I don’t see how that’s the answer.
I do think the NBA should be encouraging teams to play their stars when they’re not injured, though I’d stop short of saying there should be some kind of tangible repercussion. And I’d also even be in favor of a slightly shorter season. Like I mentioned earlier, we already play 10 months of basketball. Losing a couple weeks wouldn’t make much of a difference to me as a fan, though I’m sure the owners aren’t in favor of fewer opportunities to make money.
Finally, we asked our Rockets fan confidence question. It’s important to note that this survey was given before last night’s victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, but fan the confidence level seems to have stabilized and gone up slightly since last week. I’ll be really curious to where it stands after this week concludes.