Saturday, November 28, 2015

Off track, just a little bit

This specific issue comes out of the NBA and the Timberwolves, but it's applicable to baseball and the Twins:

The Wolves won Friday night in Sacramento with rookie Karl-Anthony Towns playing just 21 minutes. The game before that, they won with Towns playing just 22 minutes.

Sitting the Number One overall pick for more than half the game has some observers critical of coach Sam Mitchell:

My sense of it is: It's a long season with a hellacious travel schedule. Towns is 20 and a year out of high school. The history of the NBA is filled with talented young big men whose bodies couldn't take the stress: Sam Bowie, Greg Oden, Bill Walton ... Why beat the kid up if you don't have to? Wiining with Towns playing 21 minutes is easier on him than winning playing him 31 or 41 minutes.

In baseball, the prevention of injuries is the current sabermetric holy grail. It's almost certainly the same in the NBA, which has perhaps accepted analytics more readily than baseball has. We certainly see more teams sitting specific players on one side or the other of back-to-back games.

The NBA and MLB have some parallel issues: A lot of games packed into half a year with tons of travel, long overnight flights and sleep disruption. Baseball teams are already trying to limit pitcher workload -- not only in game, but in season. We may soon see more attention to position players as well.

1 comment:

  1. To that extent, I have thought Blyleven has been way off track with his constant gab about starting pitchers "not completing long inning games like their he-man predecessors from that bygone era".

    The size of today's contracts dictate current team need to protect pitchers arms. Pitchers do not grow on trees (dispite 7' pitchers who make it seem so).

    Anderson did keep pitchers innings under control, to the chagrin of some. But, I believe it is the correct way to protect a staff today.