While it’s hard to say definitively that a shortened 2020 offseason was responsible, injuries were up around the NBA this season, according to data compiled by Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com.
As Holmes details, this season’s All-Stars missed 19% of a possible 1,944 games, the highest percentage in NBA history. Additionally, teams were missing an average of 5.1 players per game due to injuries, rest, and non-COVID-related illnesses, which is the highest mark since ESPN’s Kevin Pelton began tracking that info in 2009/10.
Players and coaches alike have noted that the 2020/21 season has taken a greater mental and physical toll than a typical year, but the NBA insists that the rate of injuries over the last few months has been about the same as normal, Holmes writes.
“Injury rates this season were virtually the same as last season, and any suggestion to the contrary is inaccurate,” NBA senior VP David Weiss told ESPN. “The number of serious injuries was lower this season than last season. Although more players this season missed a single game because of an injury or rest, injuries resulting in many games missed were in line with normal historical trends. To operate this season safely in a pandemic has been physically and mentally challenging for everyone involved, and players and teams have risen to the challenge and avoided an increase in serious injuries.”
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- League spokesperson Tim Frank confirmed that the first-place MVP vote awarded to Knicks point guard Derrick Rose was the result of a cumulative fan vote rather than from a media member, per Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). While that makes some sense, it’s still a bit odd, given that past fan votes for the MVP award haven’t been nearly so outside the box, writes Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.
- As previously reported, the Las Vegas Summer League will return this year from August 8-17, the NBA confirmed on Wednesday in a press release. All 30 NBA teams will be involved and will play five games apiece — the two teams with the best records after four games will meet in a championship contest on August 17.
- Meanwhile, the NBA G League has officially confirmed the previously-reported news that five-star recruit Jaden Hardy is joining the G League Ignite for the 2021/22 season. Hardy is considered one of the best prospects in the 2021 recruiting class.
- Keith Appling, a former Michigan State star who had a brief stint with the Magic during the 2015/16 season, was charged with murder on Monday, per an Associated Press report. Appling is accused of killing Clyde Edmonds, 66, in Detroit on May 22. He was initially arrested on May 24.