These NBA players played all 82 games in the age of load management

No one would have blinked an eye if an NBA player played all 82 games in 1995. Playing every game was expected of every player, especially if you weren’t dealing with injuries. Missing a game to rest would most likely get you ridiculed and questioned about your toughness.

Fast forward 28 years and the term load management is as much a part of today’s game as free throws and layups. It has become such a big deal that the NBA tried to adjust the schedule so there would be less back to backs and less travel. That, however, didn’t change much as teams continued to sit out healthy players, and fans continued to not see their favorite players on the court.

For instance, just 10 years ago, in the 2012-2013 season, you had 28 players play in all 82 games. Since that season, the most players to play in all 82 was the 2018-19 season when you had 21 players play all 82.

So yes, playing all 82 may not seem like a big deal, especially a couple of decades ago, but in 2023 it is an accomplishment. This season you had ten players, and it doubled the amount from last season. I don’t think, however, think, that this means the trend is going the other way. Instead, I think it has to do with five being such a ridiculously low number that this season’s players were bound to surpass it.

Amongst the ten players, we have some interesting statistics about their 82 (sometimes 83) game seasons. Here is the list of the ten players.

KJ Martin

Tari Eason

Harrison Barnes

Mikal Bridges

Isaiah Hartenstein

Kevon Looney

Jordan Poole

Nikola Vucevic

Derrick White

Patrick Williams

Because of his trade from the Phoenix Suns to the Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges played in 83 games this season. So the Nets had him play for four seconds and check out to ensure he got to game 83. Bridges is the first player since 2015 to play in 83 games. The last player was Josh Smith, who did it for the Pistons and Rockets in that 2015 season.

That makes 392 straight games for Bridges, who hasn’t missed a game in his NBA career and has the longest active streak in the NBA.

Houston Rockets rookie Tari Eason, one of the biggest surprises of the rookie class, was the first rookie to play in all 82 games since the 2018-19 season. Eason was joined by teammate KJ Martin Jr. who also played all 82 games which was the first time in his career.

Coach Mike Brown of the surprise team of the season Sacramento Kings, spoke about veteran Harrison Barnes playing in every game.

Everyone in the NBA realizes how big of a deal it is for players to play in every game when teams and players are taking every opportunity to rest, especially with the playoffs right around the corner.

Steve Kerr made it a point to highlight the two players for the Warriors that played every game.

As I said, a couple of decades ago, you probably wouldn’t even see an article about a player playing 82 games. Still, with load management running rampant, it is an accomplishment to suit up and show out in every game. That is what makes what these ten players did this season noteworthy.