An Injury Filled NBA Playoffs
My motto every year when the NBA playoffs come around is this simple phrase: “pick the best, healthiest team.” If you start with those parameters it will take you a long way in making correct predictions for these series. The best teams usually advance but they have to be healthy.
Historically, injuries have impacted series for years.
I can remember back in the late 1980’s when the Los Angeles Lakers were going for a three-peat and they had a great team. They made it back to the NBA Finals and both Magic Johnson and Byron Scott were ruled out for the Finals and the Lakers lost in 4. It was a competitive sweep but they Lakers couldn’t win without two important pieces.
Look at the Sacramento Kings back in 2003.
The Kings were really good that season, the roster was deep and they were motivated coming off the pain of losing to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals the year before. In round two, Chris Webber got hurt in Dallas and the Kings without their best player fought valiantly but ultimately fell short in a Game 7 loss.
A couple of seasons ago, the Golden State Warriors were definitely the best team in the NBA. They were cruising to another title. They were going to defeat the Toronto Raptors and then Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both got injured. Series over, Raptors win.
That takes us to the 2021 NBA playoffs. We have seen the defending champion Lakers play a game without Anthony Davis and they looked awful.
The Philadelphia 76ers are going to be playing at least Game 5 without Joel Embiid–and if it is more than that, suddenly a contender will look like a pretender.
Boston didn’t have much of a chance with the Nets especially without Jaylen Brown and then Kemba Walker.
I hate to see injuries and they are a part of every sport but if you can get to the postseason with all your weapons that gives you the best chance. You need to be a good team, you need a little luck and that could come with a bounce of a ball or some good fortune in avoiding a critical injury.
The sport is at its best when every team is at 100 percent. That is too much to ask for especially this time of the year. As we go forward, keep your eye on the teams that at the top that are good and stay healthy.
Usually the one that puts both those together becomes the last one standing and holding the trophy.