Players can rest during the extra week the NBA has graciously given them to complete the 82-game schedule.
Like his predecessor at No. 1 overall, Matthews joined a young, last-place team and promptly reached the playoffs; Washington eliminated the Leafs in six games last April, but he finished the first round with four goals.
If only he had the time. After worlds, Matthews became the first American chosen No. 1 overall in the NHL draft since Patrick Kane in 2007, and the Maple Leafs’ first No. 1 selection since Wendel Clark in 1985. He was the first top pick from the Sun Belt and the first of Hispanic descent—his mother, Ema, was born in Mexico. He realized his life had changed when he went apartment hunting in Toronto and was stopped by fans three times on a one-block stretch between a restaurant and a hotel. “I don’t do too much walking around [anymore],” he says. “When I do, I try to keep a low profile.”
There are more than enough commercial breaks for guys to stay fresh for an entire game. Heck, with those new jersey sponsors, the entire game is basically one big commercial break now.
D’Antoni is giving his team too much trust. If he’s going to play small-ball lineups that look like something your 12-year-old sibling would dream up in a game of NBA 2K18, then D’Antoni may as well turn fatigue off and play his best five the whole way.
“I don’t really think about that,” he said. “When I make a choice—and I bet it was the same with [Cris] Collinsworth and [Troy] Aikman—you know how much effort goes into it. You gotta give everything you got to this. You can’t fake things. You gotta be yourself. You always hope people enjoy it. The goal is to talk to the guy having a beer next to you, just explain the game. And if I can do that, I’ve done my job.”