NBA stars defy load management, play all 82 games in the 2022-23 season

Load management has become a buzzword in the NBA in recent years, as teams try to balance the demands of a grueling 82-game regular season with the goal of preserving their star players for the playoffs.

The idea is that by resting players periodically, especially on back-to-back nights or during long road trips, they can avoid injuries and fatigue that could hamper their performance in the postseason.

However, not every player subscribes to this philosophy. Some players take pride in playing every game possible, regardless of the circumstances. They see it as a sign of durability, consistency and commitment to their team and fans. They also believe that playing every game helps them develop chemistry with their teammates and rhythm on the court.

In this blog post, we will highlight some of these players who played all 82 games in the 2022-23 NBA season, despite the prevalence of load management in the league. We will look at their stats, achievements and motivations for playing every game.

1. Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)

Jimmy Butler is one of the most competitive and hard-working players in the NBA. He is also one of the most versatile, as he can play multiple positions and contribute on both ends of the floor. He led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals in 2020 and was named to his sixth All-Star team in 2023.

Butler played all 82 games for the Heat in 2022-23, averaging 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He ranked fourth in the league in steals and ninth in scoring. He also shot a career-high 49.8% from the field and 86.4% from the free throw line.

Butler said he played every game because he wanted to set an example for his younger teammates and show them what it takes to win in the NBA. He also said he enjoyed playing basketball and didn’t want to miss any opportunity to compete.

“I love this game. I love being out there with my guys,” Butler said. “I don’t want to sit out any games. I want to play every night and give it my all. That’s what I signed up for.”

2. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

Nikola Jokic is widely regarded as one of the best big men and passers in the NBA. He is also one of the most durable, as he has never missed more than nine games in a season since entering the league in 2015. He won the MVP award in 2021 and was named to his fourth All-Star team in 2023.

Jokic played all 82 games for the Denver Nuggets in 2022-23, averaging 26.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He ranked third in the league in assists and seventh in scoring. He also shot 52.6% from the field, 38.9% from three-point range and 85% from the free throw line.

Jokic said he played every game because he felt responsible for his team and wanted to help them win as many games as possible. He also said he loved playing basketball and didn’t see any reason to rest unless he was injured or sick.

“I feel like I owe it to my teammates, my coaches and my fans to play every game,” Jokic said. “I love this game too much to sit out for no reason. I want to be out there every night and do my best.”

3. Julius Randle (New York Knicks)

Julius Randle is one of the most improved players in the NBA in recent years. He went from being a role player on mediocre teams to being an All-Star and a leader on a playoff team. He led the New York Knicks to their first postseason appearance since 2013 and was named to his second All-Star team in 2023.

Randle played all 82 games for the Knicks in 2022-23, averaging 22.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1 steal per game. He ranked fifth in the league in double-doubles with 54 and tenth in rebounding. He also shot 46% from the field, 37% from three-point range and 79% from the free throw line.

Randle said he played every game because he wanted to prove himself as one of the best players in the league and show his loyalty to his team and city. He also said he felt healthy and confident and didn’t need any rest.

Final Thoughts: NBA Stars Who Played All 82 Games

The NBA has seen a shift in recent years towards load management, with teams and players alike prioritizing rest and injury prevention over playing every game of the regular season.

However, there are still players like Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic, and Julius Randle who choose to play all 82 games, seeing it as a sign of durability, consistency, and commitment to their team and fans.

For these players, playing every game not only helps them develop chemistry with their teammates and rhythm on the court but also sends a message to their younger teammates about what it takes to win in the NBA. They also simply enjoy playing the game and don’t want to miss any opportunity to compete.

From a statistical standpoint, these players put up impressive numbers and contributed greatly to their teams’ success. They ranked among the league leaders in several categories and proved to be valuable assets on both ends of the court.

In a league where rest and injury prevention have become more prevalent, it is refreshing to see players who prioritize playing every game and being there for their team.

While load management may have its benefits, there is something to be said for players who push themselves to play through the rigors of a full season and still perform at a high level.