Spurs coach Gregg Popovich may have kicked off the load management era, but Kawhi Leonard is the poster boy.
In his first and only season in Toronto, Leonard played in just 60 of the Raptors' 82 regular season games. From a fan perspective, it was hard to stomach. There's no arguing with the results, though.
Leonard credits Toronto's strategy for one of the most impressive individual playoff performances in recent NBA history (30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and a league-high 939 total playoff minutes). The Raptors took home the title, and teams took notice.
When Leonard became a Clipper this offseason, the team made it clear his health would be a top priority. And why not? If it worked for Toronto, why shouldn't the Clippers follow the same path?
But load management is a sensitive subject. When the Clippers announced Wednesday that Leonard would miss the front end of a back-to-back set, the debate once again took center stage.
ESPN analyst Doris Burke got the fireworks started on the "Golic and Wingo" show ahead of the Clippers' matchup with the Bucks. Los Angeles ruled Leonard out of the first game of the back-to-back, taking away the excitement of a Kawhi vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo showdown.
"It is mind-boggling to me that Kawhi doesn't want to play against the reigning MVP and he'd rather play against Portland [the next day]," Burke said. "I believe the league has a long-term problem. When it pinches them, I don't know. But Kawhi not playing, to me, is ridiculous at this point. I don't understand it. He is a great player."