During the 2018-19 NBA season, a new term was introduced into the league lexicon: load management.
For numerous seasons now, teams have been periodically resting All-Star players in order to ensure they were 100% going into the NBA playoffs and now there is a new way to refer to it. Considering the Los Angeles Lakers two All-Star players are LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there is some expectation of that happening.
For James, the reasoning is obvious as he is entering his 17th season and is coming off the first year in which he was ever seriously injured. In fact, the term itself originated with James sitting out a February game against the Golden State Warriors. However, Davis is a different story.
With concerns about Davis’ injury history and the Lakers’ quest to get back to championship contention, there was some thought that perhaps he could potentially have some rest games. But, Davis himself has other ideas.
“I’m playing. I’m 26 years old and love the game of basketball. I’m ready to play,” Davis said during his introductory press conference, making it clear that he intends to be on the floor every night.
As Davis said, he is only 26 years old — the age where most All-Star players truly hit their prime and he doesn’t feel like he should need any rest. Additionally, his injury history is slightly overblown and seems like more of a thing of the past.
In his first four seasons, Davis suffered from a number of injuries, but the vast majority of them were relatively minor. He never played 70 games in those first four seasons, but he also never played less than 61. Over the last three seasons, Davis has been much better, playing 75 games in both 2017 and 2018 and mainly missing games last season due to the Pelicans sitting him out after his trade demand fell through.
Those missed games last season likely also have something to do with Davis’ mindset. He has missed enough games that he’s ready to make up for it during the 2019-20 season and the Lakers could be the beneficiaries of a focused and ready Davis.