Blame it on players being softer, the NBA game being too taxing these days or teams making rest more of a priority than ever before, but this has happened: Only 18 players played the entire schedule this season.
The last time there was such a small number of players going the entire year without missing a game, Wilt Chamberlain was still around. We have to go back to 1966-67, when just 16 guys played the then 81 games of the regular season, per Basketball Reference. Since only 111 players hit the court that year, that would be 14.4 percent of the league. In 2015-16, the number is 3.7 percent (18 out of 476).
Since 2003-04, only once have 36-plus players played every contest of the regular season. Between 1976-77 and 2003-04, the number dropped below 38 in just one occasion. That’s quite a pattern change.
Seventeen of the 30 NBA teams finished the 2015-16 regular without a single player competing 82 games. Four in the select group of athletes who played the entire schedule wore the Timberwolves jersey: Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine. Three of them were All-Stars: James Harden, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.