Nate McMillan Adapting To Load Management Lifestyle In The NBA

Nate McMillan Adapting To Load Management Lifestyle In The NBA

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Nate McMillan Adapting To Load Management Lifestyle In The NBA

A lifer in the NBA, Nate McMillan has had to adjust to a new trend around the league. How is McMillan handling the ‘load management’ mindset?

Joe Robbins | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – When Nate McMillan played in the NBA (from 1986-1998), the month of October was a grind.

Two-a-days commenced throughout the entire month, with Training Camp taking on a whole different meaning from what it’s about nowadays.

Fast forward to McMillan’s 16th season as a head and the grind of October is nothing like what it used to be.

The ‘load management’ phrase that took the NBA by storm last year is something that is even on the mind of a guy who used to not believe in such an approach.

“I’m becoming (a believer), because it’s where we are going,” McMillan said to Pacers.com on the team’s annual media day.

“We’ve put a lot of money on studying players and load management. It’s something we look at closely.”

In recent years, the Pacers have hardly gone anywhere near the practice of ‘load management’ compared to many playoff teams.

For one, the Pacers have often been in an intense race for homecourt in the playoffs, so every regular season game has had some meaning. And the makeup of Indiana’s top-level players hasn’t preached a massive need for ‘rest’ during the regular season.

That doesn’t mean the Pacers are straying away from the load management movement.

With Victor Oladipo’s situation once he returns to action this season there’s going to be a dialed back schedule, with built-in rest days.

“You have to adapt,” McMillan says. “That’s part of coaching and adapting to the generation of going. It’s much different now than it was 10 years, to 20 years ago.”

“It started in college basketball, where you could only work with them a certain amount of hours. Now, there’s a time limit on going live in practices. It’s something that has become a part of our league.”

Like virtually every NBA or NFL team, the strength and conditioning aspect to the game extends to tracking players in practices and games to make sure teams know where each guy is at in order to give maximum performance.

Not only is more attention put on the body strain over the course of an 82-game season, McMillan points out to players needing a little more notice during an offseason.

Nowadays, McMillan tries to talk to all of his players at least once a week, even in the offseason.

That wasn’t the case a decade or two ago.

“When I was playing years ago, if you were 11th or 12th man, it was a wonder If the coach knew your name,” the head coach says.

“We have to adapt how the game is played in 2019.”

And that means McMillan being more willing to have a guy sit on the bench with a ‘rest’ label in the box score.

 

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