Brooks anticipates 'heated discussions' with Wall on playing time originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Not every star player prefers to be load-managed. Some prefer to just play and let the chips fall as they may regarding their lingering ailments.
Coming off a two-year absence recovering from Achilles surgery, John Wall will likely face a minutes restriction and won't play in back-to-backs this season as the Wizards bring him back slowly.
Head coach Scott Brooks, who's still constructing that plan with Washington's medical team and front office, is well aware of how hard it will be to tell Wall to sit.
"With what I saw, [Wall] is ready to go," Brooks told the Sports Junkies Thursday. "He wants to play. Him and I are going to have many, many, many heated discussions about playing time. He always wants to play, he wanted to play 48 minutes when he was healthy and taking him out for a few minutes is always like pulling teeth."
Wall's position is an understandable one. He's never played less than 32 minutes per game in his career and will seemingly want as much opportunity as he can get to reassert himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA.
But the plan hasn't been finished quite yet as there are still too many unknowns left to be settled by the league office before the season begins on December 22.
"We're still a work in progress, but there's definitely gonna be some [rest] here and there, maybe some back-to-back games not playing," he said. "But that's probably going to be the case with a lot of our guys. This is a very unique season and we don't even have our schedule. We don't know the travel, the back-to-backs, obviously the pandemic is out there still."
Whether he's ready to play 36 minutes per game every other night or not, the Wizards are wise to take things slow with one of their best players. Most of the league plans to ramp up their stars after a quick turnaround from the end of last season and the reality of a shortened offseason with no preseason games.
The goal for every team that adopts this strategy is that come playoff time, your best players are at their optimal physical condition and aren't at a high risk of wearing down when it matters most.
Still, not every star player who's in line to be load-managed at the start of the season has had to sit out the last two years as Wall has.
"He's ready man, he's been out for two seasons," Brooks said. "He's ready to get back on the court and help his team and he's excited about the guys that we have. He misses the game."
For more interviews, tune into Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.