The NBA Generation Gap Widens Again

by Nick Ashooh

Generally in life, we just expect change. Technology, clothes, and life priorities are all things that somehow evolve as time goes on. We’re used to it, right? So when something stays consistent, it always stands out in a world of change.

The NBA just gave us one of those rare moments we can all relate to: the older generations telling the new guys they’re too soft, and it was done right “back in their day.”

You’ve had your own battles, c’mon, admit it. From the terrible music you listen to, or the “way your generation acts.” It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 60, you’ve had this conversation with the people that came before you.

Sports are no different, and it’s always a bigger deal than it needs to be. The league is different now, just like your music was. Last year the argument was Steph Curry had no chance to be successful “back when I played.”

Now, the same guys whining about the three-point shot can’t stand NBA players thinking long term with their health. They should stop resting so much. They’re soft. They should play until their legs fall off.

Sound familiar, NFL?

Resting players in the NBA is the new panic epidemic. The problem is, it’s not going away, and you should be okay with it. Just ask the Spurs how it’s worked out for them.

LeBron James: “At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest.”

Then we go back a generation, and you get Karl Malone waiving his cane while yelling at a cloud and ironically tweeting, “If you don’t have at least 10 yrs experience, get your a– playing. It’s not work, it’s called playing.”

Boom. Mic drop.

Listen, I’m not saying there isn’t a fine line when it comes to resting your stars for the postseason. There is. You can’t sit guys out a week because they’re bored with the regular season. But coaches don’t have a responsibility to anyone other than their organization and their own fans. So what if Clipper fans didn’t get to see LeBron play on Saturday? They’d boo him anyway.

Yes, it’s entertainment, but coaches’ jobs aren’t kept or lost because of TV ratings. Coaches are hired to win, and if Scott Brooks wants to sit John Wall (who’s top-five in the NBA in minutes) during one of their five-games-over-eight-days stretch that starts on Friday, do it. Remember how this team played last year when Wall and Beal couldn’t stay healthy? I want Wall as close to 100 percent as possible for the games that matter more.

Brooks has a responsibility to Wizards fans, Ernie Grunfeld and Ted Leonsis to get his team ready for the postseason. He doesn’t have to make Jazz fans happy by playing Wall or Beal at Utah next week if they need a night off in Game 76 of the regular season. Yes, they’re still playing for seeding, but is a half-game jump really worth fatigue leading to another sore knee? We’ve been there. Ask Randy Wittman about that. I’ll take the three-seed and a healthy backcourt every time.

Maybe the NBA and ESPN have over-saturated us with nationally televised games this late in the year. That’s what started all this anyway. The league wants its stars on TV, and coaches want their players healthy for the stretch that keeps them employed. I love the NBA, but like Thursday Night Football, it’s starting to over-saturate the product.

In the end, we’ll never have a true compromise with this. Players look out for their future, and the league will always think revenue and ratings first. Neither should be seen as wrong, either. Just remember though, players are like appliances, and they recognize this. When they start to break down, they’re replaced by something new and shiny.

In the end, I want the Wizards to be as ready as they can be for whoever they see in the first round. They go where Wall and Beal go, simple as that. So if some fans out west aren’t happy they don’t get to see them play in March, I’ll take that, so they have a chance to play in June.

Nick Ashooh is an on-air personality for 106.7 The Fan. He previously worked at WTEM for eight years. Follow him on Twitter: @NickAshooh

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