“I think that’s bulls—,” Beverley said after the Rockets’ 137-125 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. “I think that’s a disgrace to this league. I think that fans deserve better.
“I could care less about coaches asking players to rest or not. It’s up to you to play or not, and if you don’t, you’re disrespecting the game. And I don’t believe in disrespecting the game, because there was a time where I wasn’t playing in the NBA and I was trying to get here. So me resting, I feel like, is disrespecting me, disrespecting the name on the front of the jersey and disrespecting the name on the back of the jersey.”
Precautionary resting of players has become a hot-button issue recently, in part due to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers opting to rest stars for nationally televised Saturday night games. Commissioner Adam Silver responded by sending a memo to the league’s owners, urging them to be involved in the decision-making process regarding precautionary resting, calling it “an extremely significant issue for the league” that impacts “perception of our game.”
The Rockets have not followed the trend of resting their key players. MVP candidate James Harden and veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who both rank among the NBA’s top 10 in minutes played, have not missed a game this season.
Harden is dealing with a sore wrist, which he had wrapped in tape as he left the Toyota Center on Sunday evening. Asked if he planned to rest or play if he’s able, Harden simply smiled.
“I don’t believe in disrespecting the game, because there was a time where I wasn’t playing in the NBA and I was trying to get here. So me resting, I feel like, is disrespecting me, disrespecting the name on the front of the jersey and disrespecting the name on the back of the jersey.”
Beverley, a relentless defender with a reputation for being an on-court agitator, has missed 11 games this season due to arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, a left quadriceps contusion and right wrist soreness.
“We understand that it’s tough,” Beverley said. “We understand that you can’t play all 82, trust me, with injuries and all that. But if you’re feeling OK — a lot of people have been banged up, but if you’re feeling OK, then you should play. That’s what you get paid for. That’s what fans deserve. The fans definitely deserve that. That’s what the city deserves.
“I’m just happy that we’re in position where we’re fortunate to have a team that the main players, the second unit, 1 through 15, if they’re available to play, we play. That’s how our mindset is.”