Sunday Topic: Most Devastating Injury?
Every Sunday, HOOPSWORLD’s analysts weigh in on an NBA-related topic. Get in on the debate by leaving your thoughts in the comment section. Here’s this week’s Sunday Topic.
There have been plenty of injuries around the NBA this season. Many impact players have went down and their teams have suffered as a result, which brings us to today’s Sunday Topic:
“Which injured player has been missed the most by their respective team?”
“Derrick Rose. If we’re talking about devastating injuries, Derrick Rose’s ACL tear in the waning minutes of the team’s first 2012 playoff game was one of the most devastating playoff injuries in the history of the NBA. We’re all generally feeling pretty warm and fuzzy about Derrick’s rehabilitation because we’ve watched those “The Return” videos and know he’s doing fine and probably is going to come back 100%, except stronger and smarter.
Eventually, he’ll make the Bulls look like one of the best teams in the league again.
But eventually is still probably a couple of months away, and despite the fact that the Bulls have been a respectable defensive team and are leading their division without Rose, none of last year’s serious title contenders have dropped off this season the way the Bulls have. Miami is still a contender. Oklahoma City is still a contender. By the time the playoffs roll around, the Lakers will probably be there, too.
The Bulls, however, are painfully average, and shall remain that way until Rose comes back. When you’re an elite team with a guy, and you’re not an elite team without him, that makes his injury a particularly hard one.” – Joel Brigham
“Steve Nash. The Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Instead, they are currently 10-14, which puts them 12th in the conference. Nash’s absence is the biggest reason for the Lakers’ early struggles. Head coach Mike D’Antoni needs a talented point guard in order for his offense to be successful, and there’s a huge drop off from Nash to Chris Duhon.
Once Nash returns, he’ll make everyone around him better. Kobe Bryant won’t have to dominate the ball and play out of his comfort zone as a playmaker. Dwight Howard will get the ball in positions that allow him to score rather than just be fouled. Pau Gasol should be able to fit in with L.A.’s offense because Nash will get him involved, just as he has done with all of the big men he has played with throughout his career. The pick-and-roll and transition game will be better once Nash returns as well.
Sure, the Lakers will still struggle on the defensive end, but at least they’ll be able to play offense with any team in the league. That’s more than they can say right now. Duhon isn’t a starting-caliber point guard and the Lakers can’t wait to get Nash back.” – Alex Kennedy
“Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki doesn’t get enough credit, despite the fact that year after year he carries the Dallas Mavericks to 50-win seasons. The team around him changes, some years more than others, but it always changes, but no matter who the faces around him are, with Dirk as the anchor the Mavericks have consistently been among the NBA’s elite teams.
This year was a little crazier than most, with nearly the entire team from last season walking away, but still there was a very real sense coming into the season that with a pack of hungry veterans and Dirk in the middle the Mavericks would once again be among the league’s elite.
When a knee injury claimed Nowitzki in preseason the Mavericks found out just how much they depend on their all-world power forward to make their offseason moves make sense. Without him the Mavs were basically a .500 team through November and have struggled to beat even the worst teams in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki is the Dallas Mavericks. Period.” - Bill Ingram
“The Washington Wizards got the prize of the 2010 NBA Draft in John Wall. After a number of rebuilding years, the Wizards finally added veterans to help get the best out of Wall in Nene, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor.
Unfortunately Wall went down before the season with a knee injury (stress reaction) that has kept him out the entire season and still hasn’t enabled him to practice. The veterans are playing without their star point guard and the Wizards are a league-worst 3-15.
By the time Wall is back, the Wizards will likely be miles from the playoffs and for yet another season, Wall won’t be playing any significant NBA basketball. He has a year left on his contract before he hits free agency but Washington has not been a fruitful stay for Wall since his arrival.” – Eric Pincus
“Landry Fields. Fields was Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo’s overpaid free agent acquisition this summer. A player Toronto pursued to keep the New York Knicks from winning the Steve Nash sweepstakes. However, the Raptors have been weak at small forward for years and Fields was the guy who was supposed to plug the hole.
When Fields came to Toronto in July, he assured everyone his wayward shooting stroke was back and he was ready to contribute, but upon his arrival in training camp, it quickly became apparent that something was very wrong. Fields noticed a bizarre twitch in his hand every time he raised his arm to shoot, but since there was no pain, he decided to play through it.
In the five games before his elbow surgery, Fields was 5-24 from the field and the Raptors had a record of 1-4. Three of the loses were close, averaging a 4.7 point differential and in those games, Fields averaged less than one made basket, 1.3 points and one turnover.
It’s hard to blame Fields for trying to play through his problems, but it’s not hard to imagine the Raptors having a winning record after the first five games if Fields was healthy. The Raptors’ season slide only continued from that point on, but a better start could have made all the difference. Landry Fields certainly isn’t the biggest name to start the current season with an injury, but the impact has certainly been devastating to Toronto.” – Stephen Brotherston