The Miami Heat were one of the best stories in the NBA this season. After only winning 11 of their first 41 games, the South Beach team was able to turn their fortunes around, only missing the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker.
They even had a chance to make a playoff appearance until the final day of the regular season. They needed to win against the Washington Wizards, which they did, while hoping for either the Indiana Pacers or Chicago Bulls to lose in their final matches. However, team president Pat Riley could not help but feel cheated, especially after teams, particularly the Atlanta Hawks, rested their starters against the Pacers, paving the way for the Bulls to advance to the postseason after their easy win against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.
During his press conference on Wednesday, the veteran front office executive talked about the league’s issue about DNP-rests and called it a “travesty.” He also added, via Ethan Skolnick of CBS Sports, that he does not believe in resting players and that blatantly allowing players to stay home when healthy is just wrong.
“We don’t rest, we don’t, I don’t believe in it. I think it’s gotten to the point where it’s become a travesty, an absolute travesty, and blatantly so. I don’t care how many players you are resting, or who are the ones who are entitled to get the rest versus who doesn’t rest. We don’t rest. We maintain players. And obviously, in certain situations, when a guy is playing, you know a guy is playing banged up, only you know that — then you might shorten his minutes or you might do something. But to just blatantly leave people home and not play them in that situation, I just think it’s wrong.
“We don’t rest players. We maintain them and if a guy can’t play, we won’t play them.”
If there’s any consolation for the Heat, their fans, as well as their top brass, learned how competitive their players are, and that their culture of playing hard, and not relying on a superstar, could still make them a successful franchise.
While there may be others who may think he is just salty from seeing his team eliminated, Riley also makes a valid point that players are expected to play throughout the entire campaign, which is what they prepare for since the offseason.
With the issue continuing to be much talked about, it will definitely make Adam Silver‘s summer a very busy one, as there are obviously some changes that need to be made — especially with the amount of criticism the league has been receiving regarding the controversial topic.