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Kevin McHale says he won’t rest Rockets, Steve Kerr defends trend

T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: TNT’s Steve Kerr, Craig Sager, and Kevin McHale speak before a game between the Rookie team and the Sophomore team in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at Staples Center on February 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr threw shade on the Rockets campaigning for James Harden to win MVP.

That’s not the only difference between the organizations.

Golden State rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala earlier this month.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN:

Of the trend toward resting players, Kerr said, “They have access to a lot more data now than they did 20 years ago. We keep track of everything.”

He then pivoted to a belief in progress itself: “It’s like anything else. Medicine improves, science. People learn more. We learn better ways to take care of our bodies. Not just athletes but people in general. So, anytime somebody starts a comment out with, ‘In the old days,’ it’s usually not that great. Well, in the old days, guys played 48 minutes. Well, we’ve made advancements. We don’t go backwards with this stuff. We go forwards.”

On the other hand, Rockets coach Kevin McHale doesn’t seem to have learned anything in the last 20 years.

McHale, via Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle:

“I don’t know, I’m not one of those guys who thinks the panacea for life is taking a game off on a Tuesday night in March and all of a sudden you are 21 years old,” McHale said. “I don’t know. As a player, I never thought that made a difference truthfully.”
As far as resting his players, though, McHale said he has no intention of pulling anyone out with the playoffs this close.

I side with Kerr here.

McHale’s personal experience is valuable, but that’s only one man’s experience. It seems foolish – maybe even arrogant – to use that to determine the best course for everyone else.

We’re still learning how rest helps NBA players, but data-driven analysis seems to indicate it boosts player health and performance. I’ll take that over McHale’s feeling.

But you have to credit McHale for this: It’s one heck of a feat to put the Rockets on the old-school side of an old-school/new-school debate.