Nick Wetzel, Contributing Writer
It’s the age old question when it comes to great sports teams: Do you go for the “unreachable” record at the end of the season, or do you rest your stars and get ready for a deep postseason run? The New England Patriots went through it and almost pulled it off, coming up just short in Super Bowl XLII. The Indianapolis Colts went through the same thing in 2009. Being 14-0, they decided to rest their stars in the final two weeks of the season and ended up losing to the Jets and Bills before making it to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Saints.
This is the dilemma facing the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors. They currently stand at 72-9 and need one more win to surpass the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls team that went 72-10. However, pundits and talking heads everywhere are questioning if the record is worth not resting your stars for the playoffs, because what would the record mean if they don’t capture the championship at the end of the season. Even Head Coach Steve Kerr would prefer to rest his players, but will ultimately leave it up to them.
It can be an incredibly tough decision to make, but I’m sure every team in the league would love to be in the situation the Warriors find themselves in. In this case, the decision isn’t a very hard one. There is a reason people in the sports world still bring up the ‘95-‘96 Chicago Bulls. They etched their name into NBA eternity and are compared to every great team from decades past and present. That’s the opportunity the Warriors have this season. They can put themselves in basketball immortality if they get to magical win number 73.
There is one big reason why it is a no-brainer to go for the record instead of sitting the main guys: their age. Besides Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut, all of the Warriors main core of guys (Sorry Shaun Livingston and Mo’ Speights) are 28 or younger. If it was the San Antonio Spurs going for the record, rest would probably be more important going into the postseason because Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker aren’t spring chickens anymore. However, the Golden State guys can handle the final stretch of the season and still be fine for the playoffs.
Another key factor is the minutes that these guys have already played this season. No member of the Warriors is in the top-20 for minutes per game. Most of the stars sit much of the fourth quarters, with Steph sitting a whole 18 fourth quarters, so these guys aren’t going through the same wear-and-tear that other team’s stars are up to at this point of the season. They have more rest than basically every team in the league, except for maybe San Antonio.
Steve Kerr has already claimed that he will cut the minutes of the star players but still play to win. Kerr said the Warriors will “try to win” but “not at the expense of wearing out people.” The good news for fans that want to see the record broken is that the Warriors probably don’t need too many minutes from their studs to beat an injury-plagued Memphis team at Oracle Arena.
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