In recent years, load management has been a bone of contention for NBA fans and observers. Some claim that it is ruining the game, and some even feel it is a generational thing.
However, Julius Randle of the New York Knicks is certainly not into load management.
“I’m from the old-school cloth, I guess,” Randle said. “To me it says something about somebody who can go out there and suit up every game and produce at a high level.”
After a disappointing 2021-22 season in which his shooting efficiency was subpar, Randle is having a marvelous campaign this year, as he’s averaging 25.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 46.7 percent overall and 35.4 percent from 3-point range.
“I put way too much into it to take games off,” Randle said. “For me personally, that’s just how I feel. I understand the science and all that different stuff behind it. But I guess I have my own science. For me, I feel better doing things. I’m active. On top of that, I just put way too much into my body, for me personally to cheat myself out of being available for my team.”
Thanks to his outstanding play, the Knicks are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 38-27 record. They’re surpassing the expectations of just about everyone, except for possibly those within the Tri-state area, and the team is seemingly on its way to its second playoff appearance in the last three seasons.
In the 2020-21 season, the last time the Knicks reached the postseason, Randle was named to his first All-Star team as he made an amazing 41.1 percent of his 3-point attempts. This season saw his second nod to the league’s midseason classic.
“The more I stay active doing stuff, the better I feel,” Randle added. “If I feel like I’m doing a lot and I take time off, it’s like when somebody first starts working out, they start working out real hard and they’re sore, and then stop, and they work out again and they’re sore all over again. It’s better to just be consistent. That’s just my theory.”
The other huge key for New York this year has been guard Jalen Brunson, who they signed as a free agent last summer. He has busted out in a huge way, putting up a very efficient 23.9 points per game to go along with 6.2 assists a contest.
Brunson has had a number of 30-point games over the last several weeks, while Randle has put up two 40-point games over the past two weeks.
Critics of load management charge that it can cost a good or great team wins that could make the difference between having home-court advantage in the playoffs and having to play an extra series or two on the road. They also point out how it cheats fans who pay hard-earned money to see the league’s superstars play in person.
On the other hand, there is no doubt that sitting out a few extra games here and there is beneficial to a player’s health and may even reduce his risk of injury over time.