Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday, July 4th Bullets- A 2009-2010 NBA Season Preview and A Little Bit On Injuries

  • Who else is looking forward to the 2009-2010 NBA Season? So many title contenders (Lakers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Magic, Celtics), not to mention the up-and-coming Nuggets and the improved Toronto Raptors. If Yao and Tracy can somehow manage to both come back, the Rockets look dangerous as well. The Lakers are prohibitive favorites to win the title followed by the Cavaliers.
  • The Lakers knocked out a healthy 2008 Spurs team on the way to the Finals, and most would argue the Lakers are now better than they were in 2008 (Bynum and Ariza were injured), and they've added Artest. But, the Spurs are also better than they were the last two years with the addition of youthful Richard Jefferson. The Western Conference Finals looks like it'll be Lakers-Spurs, unless the Nuggets and Mavs make some moves.
  • I really feel for the Houston Rockets. They can't ever seem to find out whether McGrady and Yao can go far in the playoffs. Every year at least one and sometimes both of them are out by the time the playoffs roll around. For all we know they could have been the next big/small dynasty. Let's hope that in 2009-2010 they finally get their chance to make some REAL noise in the West.
  • The Celtics can use Garnett's injury as an excuse for their 2009 playoff run coming up short, but if they lose Rondo him coming back might not be enough at all to do better on 2010.
  • On the topic of injuries, every year a few teams have to deal with it. Some win despite it, but most don't. So when people want to say the Lakers in 2009 were lucky that Ginobili and Garnett were out, the same is true for most other title teams. Out of the 5 or so contenders every year, at least 1 or more deal with injuries almost every year. Last year it happened to be two teams, but that doesn't make one championship any less earned than any other championship. Teams with injuries need players to step up, and this is where depth comes in. Glen Davis did it for the Celtics last year and it wasn't enough, but who's to say if they had Garnett they would have done any better? Davis nearly matched what Garnett's production would have been.
  • Part of professional sports is dealing with and preventing injury. Certain players are better than others at shaping their bodies to avoid injury. Kobe Bryant specifically works on his ankles, wrists, and knees to strengthen the muscles surrounding them to avoid injury. The other part is that if you do get injured, can you deal with it? Kobe is playing with a broken finger and has for almost two years, while some players are quick to give in and take injury time off as opposed to fighting through injuries. Avoiding injury and injury that forces you to take time off takes a lot of luck, but there are elements of effort and skill. Credit those who are able to maximize their healthy probabilities, or tough it out with injuries. I would argue that Kobe's work ethic towards avoiding injuries and him playing injured more than outweigh any decrease in credit the 2009 Lakers and Kobe should get due to other teams' injuries.

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