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Atkinson on resting players: You have to sympathize with the fans

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Resting players has been the hot topic of the NBA, and it will continue to be that way until there is some sort of resolution .... and it’s no likely to be a top-down edict.

The Nets, always trying to model themselves after the Spurs, have followed a similar recipe in how they go about resting their players. Brook Lopez has sat five games this season due to “rest”. Caris LeVert, along with others, have games to “rest” as well.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson understands both sides of the issue. This is what he told reporters before Tuesday’s game against Detroit:

“As an NBA fan, I completely understand... and I understand the situation. I think Adam Silver did a great job addressing it with all of us – with the owners; with the GM’s; with the coaches. Knowing Adam, he’s working very hard to improve the situation in terms of whether it’s less back-to-backs… I don’t know what the specific plan is but I know they’re working on it. So as a coach and organization that gives us a sense of comfort. In our situation we know it’s going to get better, but you have to sympathize with the fans, and I’m an NBA fan. I want to turn on the TV and see the best players so I get it.”

All sides of the argument are justified in their concerns. You’ve got TV networks who paid $24 billion to the NBA in the latest television contract negotiations. Not to mention regional sports networks with higher local TV right payments. Then of course you have the fan that spends a ton of money on a ticket to watch their favorite… sit.

On the other end, you have coaches and general managers resting players to keep them as fresh as they can be come playoff time, not to mention add some time onto their careers. It’s in the sports science that is driving organizations to monitor every aspect of their health to make certain players get rest.

As for the players themselves, we haven’t heard much from the union, yet, but with the newly aggressive leadership, expect that you will.

Gregg Poppovich started the trend when he became coach of the Spurs back in 1996. His success speaks for itself; winning five NBA rings with three of the same players: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

“We’ll all try to figure it out. We want to do the best job we can because it is entertainment,” Popovich said, according to AP’s Jon Krawcynski. “We love the basketball and that’s what we do. We’re all purists in that sense. But we know how the salaries are paid. We’ll get together a lot better than the Republicans and Democrats. And we even say things that aren’t nonsensical and delusional.”

Atkinson, like Popovich, is a firm believer that it will be resolved.

“It’s gotten better already. I think the schedule has improved already and it’s just going to keep getting better,” Atkinson said. “They’re going to attack it. I know it’s not an easy situation but I’m looking forward to seeing what Adam and the NBA does to improve it.”

As fans, we can only hope.