Playoff Injuries Aren’t New And Even The Kings Know This
This NBA postseason has been littered with injuries. It sucks.
Superstars have been hurt, rotation players even fringe depth players it doesn’t matter who it can have a huge impact on the games. We are all guilty of recency biases and thinking this is the best or worst of something when it is here and now.
Yes, this postseason has had a lot of injuries but over the years this has happened and had a huge impact on the playoffs.
My statement come playoff time is pick the best, healthiest team. A couple of seasons ago the Raptors won a championship, and I don’t think they would have had Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson not been hurt.
The Warriors first title during their most recent run came in 6 games, but would it have been different if Kyrie and Kevin Love played for the Cavs?
Going back to 1989 when the Los Angeles Lakers were going for a three-peat they had swept the entire post-season going 11-0 only to have Magic Johnson and Byron Scott injured for the Finals and they then got swept by the Pistons.
Again, injuries happen, and it sucks.
Take the Sacramento Kings for example. Their postseasons have been too far and in between but when they did make it, injuries had a large impact.
During the 1995-96 season, the Kings got into the postseason and had to take on the top seeded Seattle SuperSonics in a best of 5. The Kings got the split in Seattle and were ahead at home in the second half of game 3 and the Mitch Richmond got hurt.
The lead evaporated and the Kings didn’t win again. They were bounced out 3 games to 1.
The Kings team of 2001-2002 had the best regular season record and earned the top seed. In round 2 they lost Peja Stojakovic in the 3rd game to the Dallas Mavericks.
Peja wouldn’t return until game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. He only came of the bench in a limited role and averaged 6 points a game over the final three games. He was averaging 21.2 ppg for the season.
How different would that series have been if Peja was fully healthy?
The next season (2002-2003) the Kings had, in my opinion, an even more complete team. They weren’t the top seed, but now they had the playoff scars. They were battle tested and they were really deep.
In round 2, it was game 2 when Chris Webber injured his knee. The Kings were leading the series 1-0, lost game 2 and then lost the series in 7 without their best player. How different would that have been with C. Webb?
The point is injuries do happen and they will continue to happen, but how do you handle them?
I wish every team was at it’s best and in full health every year. If that were the case this year, my guess is we would have a Lakers vs. Nets final. This year we will not and we will still end up with a champion that won’t have to apologize for another team’s injuries but just enjoy the fact that they were the last one standing.