NBA’s new resting rules grant the Bulls a distinct advantage

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

As another NBA offseason unfolds, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the league office is not content to let the game become stagnant under NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Last year, the league tackled issues with rampant foul-baiting that resulted in a poor product with far too many stoppages. For a team that already had one of the lowest free throw rates in the league, this was a welcome change for the Chicago Bulls.

We may just be getting lucky once again, however, as now the NBA is cracking down on excessive load management among the league’s best stars. In recent years, load management has made the regular season feel like an unappealing slog, so the NBA’s new rule to impose resting limits on stars is a very welcome addition.

This new rule applies to any player who has qualified for an All-Star or All-NBA team in the last three years, bringing the total to a whopping 50 players. The Bulls are one of very few teams to roster three (or more) of these players, with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic now subject to the resting rules.

Ideally, this move should help curb excess amounts of load management and resting, while also providing a much more entertaining product for the fans. This will also likely have big implications for teams attempting to tank to improve their draft lottery position at the end of the season, as we saw with both Portland and Dallas last season.

“I think there’s an acknowledgement across the league that we need to return to that principle that this is an 82-game league,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver, “I think there’s a statement of principle that if you’re a healthy player in this league, the expectation is that you’re going to play.”

DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls stand to benefit under the NBA’s newly implemented resting rules for stars.

This will have big ramifications for several teams around the league that have stacked up on star power and will now be forced to play at or near their full strength across the full 82-game schedule. Under these new rules, teams will not be permitted to rest more than one star player game. This rule will impact a small handful teams more than others, Chicago included. Here’s the list of teams that have three or more “star” players on their roster.

  • Bulls: DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic
  • Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen
  • Suns: Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal
  • Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley
  • Warriors: Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins

What I find particularly interesting here is that the NBA has also added a clause to bypass this rule — specifically for veteran stars. To potentially avoid wear-and-tear to the more established stars in the league, the NBA is allowing  teams to apply for an exemptions for back-to-back contests.

"The league will allow teams to submit written requests in advance for older players for back-to-back games. This is for a small pool of stars who are either 35 or older at the start of the season or have played in over 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 games in their careers."

From the teams listed above, the Bulls (DeRozan), Suns (Durant), and Warriors (Curry, Paul) will benefit the most from having this option at their disposal. It should also be noted that LeBron James and the Lakers will also benefit here, allowing Los Angeles to rest James and Anthony Davis simultaneously without repercussion.

Since Vucevic still counts as a “star” according to the league’s rules for the upcoming season, the Bulls may have found themselves in a bind if fatigue started to kick in as the gruelling season takes its toll. Now, Chicago has the ability to rest both DeRozan and one of LaVine or Vucevic. This should hopefully help keep Chicago’s legs fresh as they prepare to hopefully make another trip to the postseason.

Next. Fact or Fiction on 3 Bulls trade deadline predictions. dark