We. Are. Back.
Injuries suck, which is why we’re here to turn a negative into a positive. With the recent string of high profile NBA injuries and the All-Star Game on the horizon we are answering the questions every other media outlet is afraid to ask – How good is the NBA All-Injury Team?
In case you missed part one of this series make sure you check it out here.
The Ground Rules:
NBA injuries leave players out for varied timelines, so for our purposes we’re going to say players are only eligible for the All-Injury team if they are going to be out for at least a month (expected or slated to return on or after March 13). We’re also going to make any players who were eligible for our first All-NBA Injury Team not eligible for this one. Lastly we are assuming that everyone plays 100% and has no lasting ill effects following their injuries. This gives us 16 players to build our roster around. So who makes the cut? I’m glad you asked.
Meet the Team:
Point Guard: John Wall
Injury – Expected Return: Knee – 6-8 Weeks
John Wall is the conductor, distributor and leader of our fearless band of injured men. In addition to being able to set up his ridiculously talented teammates for success (9.3 Assists Per Game), Wall can also create his own shot and has the speed to run a one man fast break whenever he wants.
Shooting Guard: Dion Waiters
Injury – Expected Return: Ankle – Out for Season
Dion Waiters thinks he is the best player on every basketball court he has ever stepped on. It is both his greatest strength and biggest weakness as it has led to him having the confidence to take some absurd, reckless and objectively unreasonable shots. These shots (unsurprisingly) have varied degrees of success. Much like an adorable puppy who is filled with boundless energy that can lead to unending joy or despair in the form of a chewed up furniture – It will be up to Dion’s teammates to help hone this doubled-edged sword to their advantage. Paired with a wealth of talent there should be plenty of open shots that Dion doesn’t need to force.
Small Forward: Thabo Sefolosha
Injury – Expected Return: Knee – Out for Season
Thabo Sefolosha is the ying to Dion Waiters yang. Where Dion will always be a mixed bag Thabo has been a model of consistency. At 6’7” Thabo provides great length and has a storied history of being a stout perimeter defender in addition to knocking down the occasional three to help spread the floor offensively. Plus Sefolosha recently saved a woman from drowning which screams great locker-room guy.
Power Forward: Kevin Love
Injury – Expected Return: Hand – 6-8 Weeks
Let’s get Kevin on a team that finally appreciates what he brings to the table. Love’s ability to rebound and shoot threes have made him a highly coveted asset over the years and and a key cog in the All-Injury Team. No more subtweets, shade, or finger pointing. The All-Injury Team may wish Kevin could cover a little more ground on defense, but other than that they’ll be A+ teammates.
Center: DeMarcus Cousins
Injury – Expected Return: Achilles – Out for Season
Boogie and Wall. It’s finally time to let the Kentucky teammates pick apart opposing teams once again. Cousins has adapted his game over the years to fit in with the evolving NBA, shooting 35% from beyond the arc while still averaging 1.6 blocks per game. The league’s premiere big man not only locks down the paint for our team, but sets the tone (averaging 1 technical foul every 5 games in his career) that the All-Injury Team isn’t a group to be trifled with. Most importantly Boogie will be the reason Dion stays in line (hopefully).
The Bench: Kristaps Porzingis, Mike Conley, Andre Roberson, Malcolm Brogdon
With Porzingis holding down the front court, Conley the back court, and Roberson and Brogdon the swingmen, there aren’t any gaps when it comes to the second unit. The bad boys off the bench also give the All-Injury Team incredible flexibility to meet any needs that may arise over the course of an 82 game season. Even though none of these players have ever played together I can easily see them all meshing well together for some above-average bench celebrations.
Even with some below average defenders the All-Injury Team has enough athleticism across the board to run with any team in the league. With dangerous guards and bigs who can shoot, any pick-and-roll situation is a nightmare for opposing defenses. This team can go small with Wall-Dion-Roberson-Sefolosha-Love or turn into a three point shooting bonanza with Wall-Brogdon-Sefolosha-Porzingis-Love. With scorers at every position, games will often turn into track meets but that doesn’t matter as long as the All-Injury Team crosses the finish line first.
According to Basketball-Reference.com the All-Injury team’s combined win shares (estimate of number of wins contributed by a player) from this season comes out to 24.6 wins which seems comically low for a team that has 3 of the top 20 players in the league. More realistically this team would be a 50-53 win team that would compete for an NBA championship with the likes of the Warriors or Rockets.
Here’s to hoping everyone comes back better than ever.