I posted this elsewhere but one option is to say there is a minimum number of games a player must sit out if rested/injured... say 2 or 3 games. Coaches will think twice about resting players if it would cost them 2-3 games of a player. Of course there is the issue of coaches simply inserting them for 5 minutes and taking them out, but that does hurt players per game averages if they do that and if the top players are chasing stats/awards/MVPs that might be a deterrent...so perhaps there is a minimum number of games/minutes required to win awards and make All-NBA teams which do have monetary incentives for players.
Personally, I think resting players is an unfounded science. I didn't see Stockton, Malone, Jordan, Kareem and others who played major minutes in every game they could having shortened careers due to injury or fatigue..they still played 82 games IIRC. Athletes are supposed to be better conditioned than ever these days. If the coaches need to rest their players, cut down on practice time and work more on conditioning, flexibility and other preventative measures. If athletes of the past could handle the grind, not sure why this generation can't.
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