After LeBron James was named NBA MVP for the third time in the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 campaign and the Heat won the championship, everybody was already ready for a new 82-game 2013 season. Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers, Kevin Durant was going to be better and hungrier for the championship, James was striving for his second ring and the rookies stepping up on the big stage were all news that made us anticipate a terrific season.
However, as the season began, all the excitement and thrill slowly started to wash away.
It almost seemed like every other day, new injuries would happen. They were not just simple injuries; they were either severe wounds that took a long time to recover or season-ending injuries that affected the postseason.
To further exacerbate the situation, it was not just relatively significant role players that went down, but also superstars, franchise players and a myriad of all-stars.
So, as everybody has been wondering, could this possibly be the worst NBA season ever? It is a question worth asking.
There have been key players such as Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao, Glen Davis, Kevin Love, Chauncey Billups, Amar’e Stoudemire, Rajon Rondo, Danny Granger, Lou Williams and Derrick Rose, who have missed most or all of the regular season due to injuries.
And then there are big-time players such as Russell Westbrook, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin, who have missed most or all of the playoffs because of injuries.
On top of that, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Manu Ginobili have missed notable regular season time, but not more than half their team’s games.
The Westbrook injury had a major impact on the playoff race, completely destroying the Thunder’s chances of reaching the finals once more.
The Bulls showed that they could compete and give the Heat a run for their money, but if Rose was healthy, could they have taken Miami? What about Gallinari? If he was playing, the series between the Nuggets and Warriors could have had a different outcome. With an elite point guard like Rondo out, it was certainly difficult for the Celtics to reach the finals without their best player.
We also cannot forget about Love and Bynum. Their injuries have arguably affected the playoff race, as the Sixers and Timberwolves were both eliminated in their respective conferences. If they were both healthy all season, the two teams would have likely been in the postseason.
Bryant’s injury was the biggest one this season. Who would have expected one of the greatest players to ever play the game to be down with not only a season-ending injury, but also a potential career-ending injury? The “Black Mamba” was having another fantastic season, carrying the Lakers on his back to the postseason. But the future of the Lakers winning a title all but crumpled when Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon right before the playoffs. No matter how much you dislike a certain player, nobody wants to see a major injury happen to a major player.
Commissioner David Stern asked the question himself during game four of the Heat-Bucks playoff matchup: “Is this the worst year ever for injuries, or does it just seem like it?” To answer that question Mr. Stern, yes, this is the worst year ever for injuries.
Filed Under: Sports