Although the NBA playoffs began less than two weeks ago, the intensity of the games is already affecting a plethora of star players. Injuries once again are playing major roles in the outcome of the series, as some of the association’s best athletes have missed time this postseason.
Because of this, I decided to put together a team of all the best players injured during the NBA Playoffs. If these hobbled ballers were altogether on one team, they would be my pick to win the NBA Finals.
Point Guard: Fred VanVleet
With Luka Doncic officially returning to the Mavericks lineup in game four, the all-injury team lost its best player. Doncic suffered a calf injury in the final regular season game of the year, yet the Mavericks went up 2-1 in the series without the superstar.
Fred VanVleet was dealing with knee and hip injuries throughout the Raptors first round series against the 76ers, and had to leave game four in the second quarter. His game five status is in doubt, and he is the latest addition to the NBA playoffs injury report.
Shooting Guard: Devin Booker
The face of the reigning western conference champions is dealing with his own injury struggles, as Devin Booker missed game three due to a hamstring strain. Booker is arguably the association’s best shooting guard, and was in the MVP conversation at the end of the regular season.
He is now expected to miss 2-3 weeks, and Phoenix finds themselves in a competitive first round series. Up 2-1 against the eight seed Pelicans, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton are required to elevate their play in order to advance to the conference semifinals.
Small Forward: Khris Middleton
The Suns were not the only finals participant to lose a star player to injury, as Khris Middleton is expected to miss the remainder of the first round with an MCL injury. Middleton is the clear second offensive scoring option, and was an integral piece to Milwaukee’s championship run a year ago.
Middleton did not eclipse 20 points in either playoff game he competed in so far, yet the Bucks do have a 2-1 series lead. In game three without Middleton, Milwaukee had their most dominating win of the series, winning 111-81.
Power Forward: Ben Simmons
The most confusing injury in the article, it seems as if Ben Simmons is ready to get back on the court next week after sitting out the year with a “back” injury. Simmons is yet to play a second for the Nets, who acquired him from the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline.
Simmons provides Brooklyn with a major defensive upgrade and playmaking ability when on the court. Now down 0-2, Kevin Durant and company are in real danger of being eliminated in the first round if something does not drastically change. The presence of a focused, healthy Simmons can do just that.
Center: Zion Williamson
If someone says they know when Zion Williamson is returning, they are lying. The 21-year-old power forward dealt with foot injuries all of 2022, not playing a single game in the regular season.
When last seen on the court, Williamson averaged 27 points per game while leading the league in field goal percentage. New Orleans is currently battling the one seed Phoenix Suns, and is only down a game despite playing without their best player.
With a core of Williamson, McCollum, and Ingram going forward, the Pelicans has an opportunity to put together their best team in franchise history