Thursday, January 19, 2012

The NBA Injury Situation - Western Conference

To continue our analysis of which NBA teams are the healthiest and thus poised for more success in the coming weeks, let's move on to the West.

Teams are in order of current rank in the conference:

Oklahoma City Thunder
Eric Maynor, knee (out for season)
No doubt that loss hurt, but the Thunder have proven they're deep enough to win without Maynor. As the season goes on, their depth could possibly maybe become an issue. But their core contributors are all young enough that they should be just fine. If they could trend up, I'd say they would. But they can't. So I won't. 

Utah Jazz
Josh Howard, quadriceps (day-to-day)
Jamaal Tinsley (did not practice Wednesday, for undisclosed reasons)
I have no idea how the Jazz are doing this well. Their youth is obviously working, and their haul from the Deron Williams trade is proving that the Nets highly overpaid for him. Injury-wise, they're fine. 

Los Angeles Clippers
Mo Williams, foot (day-to-day)
Chris Paul, hamstring (day-to-day)
I shouldn't have to tell you that losing Williams and Paul for an extended period of time would hurt the Clippers. And trading for Paul cost the Clips a lot of their depth, especially when you factor in Paul's questionable knees. They will trend down. 

San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker, old
Tim Duncan, old
Manu Ginobli, hand (out 6 weeks)
Richard Jefferson, old
Losing Manu hurts. Losing another of the old guys would hurt. But the Spurs have enough young guys to pick up the slack if that does happen. However, I do think they'll trend down and finish in the bottom half of the playoff teams - like the rest of the old men. 

Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have a lot of depth. They just choose not to use it. If Kobe or Andrew Bynum (two of their top three scorers) went out, they could give those shots to guys that could replicate that production. If Kobe went down, his 30 field goals per game would go to Pau Gasol, Bynum, the white guys, and Ron Artest. Maybe one of them would go to Derek Fisher. Could those guys combine for 40 points on 30 field goals? Maybe I'll do some JPoint math and give you an estimate. But the Lakers are fine, I think. Probably in the spot now they will be in at the end of the season. 

Denver Nuggets
Rudy Fernandez, achilles (day-to-day)
For as much young depth as Denver has, to only have Fernandez on the injury report is a wonderful thing. They could play 12 guys. That's absurd. Trending way up. Way. 

Portland Trail Blazers
Brandon Roy, knee (retired)
Marcus Camby, knee (day-to-day)
Greg Oden, knee (probably out for the year)
Kurt Thomas, old
I feel so bad for Portland fans. This was supposed to be their year. Now their starting center is older than Jamie Moyer and they don't have a true backup for him besides another man that is almost just as old. I think they're going to be trending down - unfortunately - because the frontcourt's lack of depth and production can't be made up by their backcourt's depth. I truly hope that they can succeed, but I'm not counting on it. 

Memphis Grizzlies
Zach Randolph, knee (out 4-6 more weeks)
Darrell Arthur, achilles (out for season)
Injuries are not the problem. The problem is they don't know how to win. They have the talent. They have the depth to fill in for Randolph and Arthur at power forward - two Philly guys (Marreese Speights, formerly of the Sixers, and Dante Cunningham, formerly of the Villanova Wildcats). They'll trend up, especially when ZBo comes back. 

Houston Rockets
Courtney Lee, calf (day-to-day)
They've been relatively unharmed by injuries, to this point. They have depth, and I think they'll trend up in the coming months. 

Minnesota Timberwolves
Martell Webster, back (day-to-day)
Michael Beasley, foot (day-to-day)
If Beasley's foot proves to be more than a one-time thing, that's going to be bad for Minny. But even now they're very young and they go 3 deep at PG, 2 deep at SG, 2 deep at SF, 2 deep at PF, and 1.5 deep at C (Pekovic doesn't get a lot of action). I think (and hope) they trend up. 

Phoenix Suns
They're all good. But they're not really good. By that, I mean they've escaped injury but they are not a winning team. And Steve Nash and Grant Hill are old. I think they're currently in the best spot they could be in at season's end. 

Golden State Warriors
Monta Ellis, got elbowed in the face (will play tonight)
Steph Curry, ankle (missed 8 games and will likely miss a few more)
Kwame Brown, chest (out 3 months)
Surprise, surprise, Curry and Brown are hurt. But regardless, they've underachieved with the guys that have been playing. Hoping that Curry's ankle is better than it's been the past few years. If so, they move up. If not, woof. 

Sacramento Kings
This is another "they're good, but they're bad" situation. However, unlike Phoenix they have the potential to be a lot better than they are. I think they're 2 or 3 more good players away from being a really good team. But this year, they won't do a lot better than where they are now. 

New Orleans Hornets
Trevor Ariza, groin (day-to-day)
Eric Gordon, knee (out 2 weeks)
Obviously, replacing Gordon with Marco Belinelli is not the best way to win games. But I don't think it matters for NoLa. They want to do poorly this season to get a lottery pick and entice a new owner to buy it with room for making their mark on the team. Really a moot point. 

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