Recent injury news for Warriors forward Kevin Durant and the 76ers’ duo of the future, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, have put a damper on what has otherwise been a very entertaining NBA season so far.
Embiid was one of the most electric entertaining players in the league in the first half of the season. He was a lightning rod both on and off the court, crossing players up and swatting layups away like flies, while at the same time sliding into the DMs of Rihanna and various Instagram models.
People were comparing him, in terms of talent and personality, to a young Dwight Howard in Orlando. Then, the news came shortly after the All-Star break that Embiid had torn his meniscus, and was out for the season. This came shortly after the 76ers’ other hyped prospect in Simmons had been ruled out for the rest of the season.
In college, Simmons was hyped as a true point guard that just happened to be seven feet tall. The entire basketball world was looking forward to seeing these two young phenoms play with each other, and those dreams were confined to “oh, maybe next year” once again.
People began to speculate whether on if Joel Embiid was the second coming of Greg Oden, another dominant big man who saw his career ended by injuries, instead of the second coming of Howard.
NBA injuries have also kept us from seeing the two juggernauts of the league, the Cavaliers and the Warriors, at their full potential. Durant went down last week with a grade two sprained MCL, and the Warriors announced that he would be out for four months, effectively taking him out for the rest of the regular season.
Durant was a legitimate MVP contender before the injury, leading the first-place Warriors in points, rebounds and blocks per game. With Durant’s injury, the Warriors have gone from possibly winning over 70 games again this year, to worrying about the Spurs possibly taking the No. 1 seed away from them.
I was definitely looking forward to seeing them match up against the Spurs again, after the Warriors got blown out on opening night. Kawhi Leonard has gotten MVP hype recently, and I would have liked to see how he would match up against the Warriors and Durant.
While LeBron James himself hasn’t missed any time due to injury, (knock on wood), the Cavaliers have had their fair share of bad injury luck as well. J.R. Smith and Kevin Love have both missed significant time this season with thumb and back injuries, respectively, leaving the defending champions shorthanded as well.
Despite this, Cleveland hasn’t slipped in the standings, although James has had to shoulder most of the load for the Cavaliers, averaging 37.6 minutes per game, the second-most in the league.
Of course, injuries have always been a part of the NBA season, but as great as this one has been, it could have been so much better with Simmons, Embiid, Durant and others playing the full slate.
Luke Swanson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org