The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
Ever since I was old enough to play organized sports the goal was to win the game that my team was playing. Sure it is great to participate, but every single player on any team that I played on had the same end result in mind. As the level of play increases in any sport the importance of winning becomes greater!
Former New York Jets Head Coach Herm Edward said it best with his famous quote, “You play to win the game.” It’s both simple and true and to most it’s quite obvious.
Recently the hot topic on the sports scene has been whether or not the Golden State Warriors should take a run at history. The NBA’s defending champion started the year on a tear and hasn’t let up, putting themselves in a prime position to go after the all-time record for wins in a season. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls hold the mark with 72 victories.
It would appear to be a “no brainer” for the Warriors to take full aim at this record, but not in a league where teams like the San Antonio Spurs have routinely rested their players to increase the chances of having a fresh injury-free squad for postseason play. Last year that strategy backfired for the Spurs as they were ousted in the opening round of the playoffs.
Ironically enough Golden State Head Coach Steve Kerr played an integral role for the Bulls back in 1995-96. Recently the Warriors locked up home court advantage in the Western Conference which was the top priority. Upon claiming the #1 seed Kerr said that he would let his players decide if they were going to rest for the second season or if they were going for the gold. Was Kerr correct in answering the way he did? If you think about it, Kerr made the safest statement that he could possibly make. I’m sure that he and his entire team would love to have not only the record, but all of the momentum that would come with it. Confidence is crucial and there would be a large dose of it after breaking a twenty year old mark. However, if he declared that they were going full boar at it and came up a little short, then disappointment and maybe a little self doubt could come into play.
Ken also sheltered himself from the possible second guessing from fans and the media if injury were to occur. If during chase one of Golden States key players were to be injured then Kerr would have to face a lynch squad that would include several around the league, especially if the Warriors failed to repeat as champs. By passing the buck to the players Kerr will be able to keep his rotation in tact while keeping the continuity that his team has possessed all year. Rhythm is huge and it would be a shame to lose it this far along in the season.
You play to win the game! Competition has and always will bring out the best in athletes. Once a player or team feels like there is nothing to play for, they will lose their edge and their level of play will decrease. When this takes place it’s hard to regain what has been lost and that will lead to the end of the wins.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!