After much was made about load management and the ways to limit it, the league has come up with what it believes to be the solution: its new Player Participation Policy (PPP). Before we continue, for a full breakdown of the PPP, check out this in-depth breakdown article by ESPN.
What are the general rules of the PPP?
The biggest piece of all of this is that teams can no longer rest more than one star player in a game (if they do, they will be fined). This new rule will serve alongside the other announcement that was made earlier in the offseason. The one that stated that to be eligible for awards, a player has to play at least 65 games.
So, no more than one star can rest in a game. On top of that, no resting stars during the In-Season Tournament or nationally televised games. Also, there must be a balance between the number of home games and road games each team rests their stars. And teams will now be investigated for shutting down players at the end of the year.
Now, these rules only apply to healthy stars missing games. Players that are actually injured can still miss games as needed. The league will still lean on team physicians to make those determinations. However, now, the league has the option to investigate any injuries that don’t feel like injuries and feel more like the team trying to rest their stars.
Who is considered a star? And how does this affect the Pelicans?
To be considered a star, the player has to have made an All-Star or All-NBA team in the last three seasons. As of right now, 45 players fall under this criteria, including New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.
So, since the Pelicans only have one star, they don’t have to worry about resting multiple stars in one game. But they will have to refrain from resting Williamson during the In-Season Tournament or nationally televised games.
With that said, the umbrella of players included gets updated after the 2024 All-Star Game. Brandon Ingram hasn’t made an All-Star game since 2019-20. But if he makes it this year, he’ll be identified as a “star” under PPP. If that happened, then he and Williamson wouldn’t both be allowed to rest in the same game. And neither of them could rest during nationally televised games.
This doesn’t apply to the Pelicans’ roster as currently constructed, but there are exceptions in place for players who are 35 or older entering the season, have logged 34,000 career minutes, or have played in at least 1,000 career regular/postseason games combined.