The NBA has a new boatload of rules that can cost teams huge sums of money, including Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz.
The NBA has had it with players taking time off during the season for rest, so they’ve created five new rules that boil down to; if you’re healthy, you’re playing. And while it’s easy to understand the workload balance of the modern NBA player, guys were playing 82 games in 1967 without private travel and dedicated medical staff. Certainly, the modern NBA player can play 70+ games in a year.
And while others can debate about the merits of the new rules, we’re simply going to look at how the rules would affect the Utah Jazz and Lauri Markkanen. Last year, Markkanen was a healthy scratch far too many times down the stretch, a move done with the idea (in theory) of the team losing more games and having a higher draft pick.
See, the Jazz were in the hunt for the Play-In games when Markkanen started missing time, and even though he wasn’t really hurt, the Jazz still sat him. Well, under the new rules, the Jazz will be fined $10,000 for every time a healthy player misses a game. Essentially, they’ll be penalized for unexcused absences.
There are of course exceptions, but for the most part, unless you’re injured, ill or otherwise excused from the team, you’re expected to be at work. This isn’t something 90% of people have an issue with.
But under the new rules, the Jazz would have been penalized for the resting of Markkanen last season. This now puts the team in a unique position, if they can’t just rest guys down the stretch to ensure better draft positioning, does that mean that more players will be moved from mediocre or bad teams?
If the Jazz are hovering around .500 come the trade deadline, and knowing that the franchise just can’t rest Markkanen down the stretch, does that mean the Jazz are now more likely to move him if they feel they aren’t where they need to be to get the most out of him?
It’s certainly a far more likely possibility, and it’ll simply come down to the question of “Does Markkanen make us better than a possibly higher draft pick?”
One would hope that you’d see Markkanen against any random 2024 rookie and go with Markkanen, but who knows?
The new rule will help keep guys on the court, and will limit the number of must-miss games, which is the point of professional sports; to entertain the crowd. The players survived playing 82 games in the ’60s when they flew coach and traveled on buses, so the modern guys will be fine.
But that doesn’t mean that the strategy of building an NBA powerhouse won’t change to fit the new rules. Let’s just hope nothing too dramatic happens.