Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets
7:30 p.m. PST
April 15, 2014
1. The Clippers have a back-to-back to close the season. Should players sit out one of these games?
Jordan White, Hardwood Paroxysm, (@JordanSWhite): I’d rest them on the SEGABABA. Resting, then playing, then resting, is an odd pattern. It may make more sense, in terms of the team keeping their rhythm, to just give them an extra day of consecutive rest.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): Yes. Preferably both, although I’d hate to see DeAndre Jordan’s streak of 238 consecutive games end because of rest. Ideally, the Clippers still find a way to win at least one of the games and break last season’s record. But I’d rest CP3, Blake, Jamal, J.J. and Danny for sure, and play DeAndre about 10-15 minutes in both.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): The Clippers first need to ask themselves, “Do we care about gunning for the No. 2 seed?” Actually, that’s not out of reach as long as the Clips win against Denver and Portland, and Oklahoma City drops to Detroit. But likely, it’d be wise to sit Griffin, Paul, Crawford and Barnes in half of their back-to-back, while limiting Jordan to 15 or so minutes in the meantime. For someone like Redick, though, it’d make sense to stay in the lineup just to regain some semblance of a midseason rhythm before the postseason.
2. Should the NBA season be shorter than 82 games?
White: Yes. 82 games is such a long season, and it can wear down players, fans and analysts alike both mentally and physically (seriously, are you guys as fatigued as I am?). A shortened schedule over the same amount of time would eliminate back-to-backs and inject more drama into the season overall.
Buha: Yes. I think a 58-game schedule – you play every team home and away once, which eliminates Eastern Conference inflation – is the best proposed format. Data shows teams should never play back-to-backs, and I agree. I’d trade 20-plus games for a better product and less injuries.
Katz: You know what? I’m going to say no. Take that. I want more basketball. And, though most people probably find it a detriment to the game, the Spurs-like way of resting players throughout a season to keep them fresh is one of the more interesting regular-season strategies in the sport.
3. Does Chris Paul deserve a spot on the First-Team All-NBA squad?
White: Yes, but it’s not as clear-cut of a case this year as it has been in year’s past. Goran Dragic (yes, seriously) deserves consideration for what he’s accomplished in Phoenix this year. Still, because the Clippers are in the playoffs, and because of Paul’s prestige, I think he gets the nod.
Buha: Yes. He’s the game’s third-best player and premier point guard. He missed 19 games, sure, but he actually plays both sides of the ball – unlike Steph Curry and James Harden – and he has a better PER and RPM than either of them (WAR favors Curry, but the difference is minuscule and the metric heavily factors games played). The Point God deserves it.
Katz: Yes. Playing defense actually means something, and Paul is about to lead the NBA in steals for the sixth time in seven years (and that one stray year was the season he got hurt in New Orleans and played only 45 games). Stephen Curry, James Harden and Goran Dragic have all had wonderful years, but Paul’s D along with his unmatched ability to facilitate and run an offense should put him on the best All-NBA team for a fourth time.