The 5 Most Injury-Riddled Teams Entering the 2013 NBA Season
With the offseason coming to a close as the 2013 NBA season is just under two months away from tip-off, it's safe to say a lot of teams improved. However at the same time, there are a few teams that are entering the season with some uncertainty.
Injuries are the most uncontrollable and unpredictable happenings in sports and they can really set back a team's development. This year in the league there were a handful of teams that had to experience this.
Let's take a look at the five teams for whom injuries will have an impact this season.
Golden State Warriors
Injuries: Andrew Bogut (ankle)
On paper, the Golden State Warriors are a solid team. They have great shooters and a solid front-court, that is, when healthy.
After trading premier scorer Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, they knew they were getting a top five center in the league. However part of the trade-off was his injury liability.
Bogut played in just 12 games last year because of his broken ankle and he hasn't played a full season since his rookie year. His goal is to be ready by the start of the season, but that's just his hope. After Bogut, they don't have much if they want to keep David Lee at the 4.
And Bogut isn't the only guy the Warriors need to worry about. Stephen Curry missed 40 games last year due to an ankle injury and Lee is known for being injury-prone.
If healthy, they have a solid front-court and are lethal from the perimeter. If they are healthy.
New Orleans Hornets
Injuries: Austin Rivers (ankle), Robin Lopez (knee), Xavier Henry (knee)
There's a lot of unluckiness here. First they drafted Rivers, and then he needed ankle surgery. Then they traded for Lopez because they didn't have depth at center, but then he needed knee surgery.
Not to mention Eric Gordon is an injury-prone player coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for almost all of last year and had a minor back injury over the summer.
Fortunately the Hornets were ready to play small because Jason Smith is their only other big center, so the Lopez injury shouldn't be that much of a hit. However, their young backcourt is moderately fragile.
Although they seem to be recovering, there's no doubt they are entering the season pretty banged up.
Injuries: Ricky Rubio (knee)
The Minnesota Timberwolves are another team with a lot of talent but just can't seem to put it all together.
After waiting years for Rubio to come into the league from Spain, it looks like they will have to wait even longer. Last season Rubio suffered a torn ACL that should hold him out until at least December.
Minnesota has Luke Ridnour who is a more than serviceable backup point guard, but this just delays yet another year of growth and chemistry for Rubio with the rest of the core.
Oh yeah, and this also doesn't help Kevin Love's situation.
Nevertheless, Rubio's injury could potentially set back the T-Wolves another crucial year.
Los Angeles Clippers
Injuries: Chris Paul (thumb), Blake Griffin (knee), Chauncey Billups (Achilles)
The Clippers' situation is very similar to the Warriors' and Timberwolves'.
Paul tore a ligament in his right thumb in Las Vegas training camp, and in effort to help Team USA win gold, Paul delayed addressing it until after the Olympics. Considering he has an eight-week timetable to return, he should be ready right before the season starts.
Griffin is also set to return before the season and Billups is optimistic to return by the start of the regular season; however, at his age you never know how fast something will heal.
So in terms of their return, it's actually positive news. The catch is though, this season is vital for the Clippers' growth and development.
They need to prove that they are a contender and a top team in the West. Even though they have the talent, they won't be 100 percent entering the season and that could potentially hurt them.
Injuries: Derrick Rose (knee), Joakim Noah (ankle)
When Rose went down in the playoffs, followed by Noah, you didn't think it could get any worse.
Rose, the former MVP, is the primary leader on this team and he will be out until at least March, while Noah is expected to be healthy by training camp.
What really kills the Bulls is the timing of these injuries. The entire Eastern Conference revamped itself this offseason (Andrew Bynum to the Sixers, Joe Johnson to the Nets, etc.) and the only thing the Bulls did was deal with the injuries.
They aren't loaded with star power, but they are a true definition of a team. But that also means they feel the impact of the injuries more because every player has a role.
When healthy, the Bulls are a legitimate contender for a title, and they will still be a playoff team. But when you take away the nucleus of any team for half a season, it's hard to expect they'll play just as well.