Three weeks of NBA action have come and gone and your Dallas Mavericks are in the thick of the action. That’s saying something. Last season, Dallas got off to a poor start. It took 14 games before the Mavs notched six wins. This season, it only took nine. That’s a definite improvement. But the Mavericks’ early improvement isn’t the only thing that has fans talking. No, there are hosts of other issues that are whipping NBA observers into a frenzy. Let’s look at one of the league’s hottest topics in this week’s SB Nation FanPulse!
Wait, what’s that? You don’t know what FanPulse is? Friend, come and sit down. Let me spin you a yarn. Way back before the start of the season, when the darkness of preseason covered the land, an idea was born. That idea was to give you, the fans, a way to have your voice heard beyond the vacuum of #NBATwitter, where the court of public opinion is warped and manipulated to fit the needs of the few. FanPulse set out to change that.
With the start of the new season, it appeared as a beacon on the horizon, a place where you (and the collective you) can have your say and have it broadcast across SB Nation’s network of team sites. It gathers your insights from the previous week of NBA action and compiles it into nifty stats and graphics that we (I), in turn, share with you. The ancient Greeks, were they alive today, would marvel at, well, literally everything in today’s society, but especially the democracy of FanPulse.
Do you want to impress the ancient Greeks with your NBA knowledge and ability to use a computer? Of course you do! SIGN UP for FanPulse. It’s completely free and anonymous. Each week you’ll receive an e-mail in your inbox with a link to that week’s survey. It’s usually two to three questions long and asks you to give your thoughts on the hot topic of the moment and your opinion on how your favorite team is doing. It’s easy and takes a few seconds out of your day. So, come on! SIGN UP.
OK, on to this week’s results!
You answered a couple of questions about the buzziest issue in the league right now: load management. It’s a term which some might mistake for the name of a Metallica tour in the 1990s, but that tour was called “Poor Touring Me.” Get it right, Boomer. Despite how much the topic has dominated the media narrative, respondents from across FanPulse don’t see it as much of an issue. Perhaps those of us who are part of the NBA media world (myself included) live in a bubble. Frankly, though, I’m with you guys on this one.
Only 18 percent of you think that the NBA needs to take action to curtail the practice of load management. That’s low. The vast majority of you, 45 percent, chimed in and said that load management is a shame, but that you understand why it’s going on. Finally, 38 percent understand that teams are doing what they need to do to win and that load management isn’t a problem. Maybe the NBA should listen to you guys. How you think the league can “fix” the problem is just as interesting.
Almost 50 percent of you think that the NBA should extend the season to eliminate back-to-back games. The season is pretty long as it is, stretching from October to March, but there’s definitely some wiggle room to extend it further. I think that’s something the NHL did, but don’t quote me on it.
Getting the second most votes, at just over 40 percent, was the option of shortening the number of games in the season. This idea comes up every year. Prominent voices in the media, like Zack Lowe, like to promulgate it. I’d support it. The challenge is that teams, sponsors, and television networks will see their income slipping away if that happens. So, I really don’t know if it’s a viable option in reality. Old white dudes love their money, you know.
Just 9 percent of you want to see stars play as much as possible. Labor is value, as Britney Spears let us know, and NBA players know their worth. That’s why many are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to their health. It’s promising that fans are on their side considering so many former players, like Kendrick Perkins, think that the players should play as much as possible regardless of injury concerns. On ESPN’s “The Jump,” Jackie MacMullan took on the role of Thanos and snapped Perkins into oblivion when he trotted out that argument. You can almost see him say, “Mrs. Nichols, I don’t feel so good.”
Jackie Mac just crushed Kendrick Perkins. Stop the fight pic.twitter.com/x6QSJRMRYv— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 13, 2019
The Dallas Mavericks (ugh, he’s finally getting to the Mavericks), as you may know, take load management very seriously. Both this week and last, Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle addressed the media on the matter. They spoke about how it’s part of the team’s philosophy and how it would be “dumb” to ignore the science behind it. I won’t go into more details about what they said here, but you can read what I wrote about both of their statements here and here. They’re worth your time.
Now, to check in with how you feel about the Mavs. Last week, I took to this space to say I would be surprised if fan confidence in the direction of this team ever hit 100 percent. Well, it looks like you take every opportunity to spite me. Your confidence is through the roof! And this is even taking into account the Mavericks’ loss at home last Friday to the New York Knicks—one of the worst and most frustrating losses I have witnessed in-person in over six seasons of having a credential. Like, c’mon. That was BAD. You’re unfazed, however. Good for you. If only I could live in such a wonderful fantasyland. They did bounce back to beat the Memphis Grizzlies the next night so I guess that took away some of the sting.
I’m not sure how you’ll feel next week. The loss to the Celtics on Monday was tough. Kristaps Porzingis’ return to Madison Square Garden ended in another abhorrent loss, where the Mavs played from behind almost all night. If you blew off the first loss to the Knicks as if it were a fluke, this loss surely got under your skin. On Saturday, the Toronto Raptors and Pascal Siakam come to town. Even though the Raptors are banged up, it’s not going to be an easy game. Dallas doesn’t have many lulls in its schedule this year. It would behoove them to rattle off a few more wins. Nevertheless, if you not caring about the terrible loss to the Knicks at home last Friday is any indication, it’s going to take a lot for your confidence to waiver. I’ll check back in next Friday.
Like what you’re seeing here? Hate it? Great! The whole point is for you to participate. FanPulse is here to give a voice to you, the ancient Greeks, er, fans. SIGN UP for next week’s poll. You’ll be happy that you did. Each week the questions pertain to the hottest topics in the league. Weigh in like a champion. It’s free. It’s anonymous. It’s easy. What are you waiting for? Democracy demands that you take action. Now scream “FanPulse” like Howard Dean’s iconic yell!