What Does DNP Mean In Basketball?

There are so many terms that are used to define various aspects of this sport. DNP is another one of those acronyms that are rarely used and is not known by a lot of people.

Die-hard fans of the sport may know this term well as they follow the entire league and the stats. However, the casual viewer may not know what does the term DNP means.

So, to give you some insight into what does this term means, let us tell you what the abbreviation of the term DNP is. The abbreviation of the term, DNP is Did-Not-Play. In some cases, it is also followed by the term Coach’s Decision. But among the stats and box scores, it is known as the DNP.

What does DNP mean in Basketball?

DNP means Did-Not-Play, which means if a player is on the bench and did not get a chance to play on the field but was a part of the team, then the term DNP is used.

Why is DNP used?

We all know by now, that each team can have up to 12 players on the roster. However, that does not guarantee that all the players will get the chance to play on the field.

Since there are only 5 players allowed to play at any given time. And most of the time there will not be enough time to rotate through your whole team of 12 players. Hence the players who do not get to play on the field are labeled as DNP or benchwarmers.

Is being labeled as a DNP bad?

Being labeled as a DNP can be bad for some players. All the players who are chosen are aware of the fact that there is a good chance they may not get a chance to play on the field. So yes it does have a bad connotation and does leave a bad mark on the player’s box scores.

What does benchwarmer mean?

Benchwarmer is a term used for those players who rarely get the chance to play in the field and are generally seen sitting on the benches most of the games.

Again the term is not to insinuate any hatred towards them it’s used by fans adoringly. But benchwarmers have their own set of duties that do not relate to the game at all. They keep the morale of the team up and take note of the opposing team’s plays to keep their team informed.

What is a box score?

We mentioned the term box score earlier and it’s worth noting what does that term mean. The term box score is assigned to the place where all the stats of each player are compiled and are available for all to read and see.

Box score nowadays is published on the websites like NBA.com or ESPN, while in the olden day’s people had to wait for weeks to get the sports page and box scores published in it.

Newspapers still do publish the box scores of all the players. However, the internet has made it a lot easier for fans to access this information on various websites.

Implementation of DNP:

There are various forms of DNP, such as if a player has an injury and cannot play due to an injury the player still has to be dressed in the uniform to be considered as a DNP. If the player chooses to wear different clothes then he will not be considered a DNP, instead, he will be ruled out.

To avoid such situations players always wear their uniforms on the field and if they have a minor injury they do practice a little bit before the game to see if they can play or not.

What is Load Management?

Load management is a term used when a player is trying to take some time off and rest. Load management applies to those who do not have an injury and are just trying to save and gather some extra energy for the upcoming games.

When players take a break as load management that affects the viewership of the matches avid fans of the sport will tune in regardless of their favorite player is playing or not.

But the casual viewers of the game will not be interested in their favorite players who are not in it. Hence load management has become a problem for many television networks that televise these games.

This is why NBA in 2020 decided to take matters into its own hands and announced that all the players who have been scheduled to play in a match will have to play unless “unusual circumstances” prevail.

This means that all the players that are scheduled to play in a televised match will have to play if they are not injured and are completely healthy.

However, due to COVID 19 crisis, the term unusual circumstances have taken a broader and different meaning.


Does the DNP affect the players? Well, not really. Does it affect the gameplay? Not really! However, it is bad for the players to have the reputation of benchwarmers and DNP does put a damper on the box scores as well.

But there is nothing that can be done to make this stat go away there is not enough time in one game to make sure all the 12 players get a chance to play. Hence, coaches cannot rid themselves of this stat. However, it is an important stat and is mentioned in the whole box score of the players.