NBA rejects LeBron James’ criticism of the schedule: Harm charges are “virtually the identical” from 12 months to 12 months
The NBA responded to LeBron James’ tweet about the league’s compressed schedule.
After James railed after Kawhi Leonard’s reported ACL injury that the 2020-21 NBA schedule was responsible for an increased injury rate, NBA spokesman Mike Bass stepped in to defend the league and refute James’ claim.
“Injury rates this season were practically the same as in 2019-20, while beginners and all-star players missed games due to injuries at rates similar to those of the previous three seasons,” said Bass, according to Marc Stein of the New York times.
“While injury is an unfortunate reality of our game, we acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice NBA players and teams have made to survive this pandemic.”
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However, the NBA’s interpretation of “practically the same” may be somewhat liberal.
According to a story from ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the average number of players dropped out due to injury, non-COVID-19 illness, or rest per game this season was 5.1. That’s 5 percent more than the next highest season average of 4.8.
The same story shows the NBA All-Stars missed 370 out of a possible 1,944 games (19 percent) in 2020-21. That is also the highest grade in NBA history.
In the playoffs, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchell, Anthony Davis, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Mike Conley all missed the playoffs due to either regular season injuries or seasonal injuries.
Can that be due to some bad luck? Perhaps, but also the schedule and lack of training certainly played a role, as leaders and trainers have outlined in Holmes’ story.
“[We] still have a contractually agreed low season [rest period] and simply had a very high density of games; I can’t imagine we’re clear, “said an athletics training officer for a Western Conference play-off team.
“I have to think that next year will be better with a more normal schedule, but we can’t be sure how much load these players will carry at the start of camp next season.”
While the NBA is defending its compressed schedule, it certainly seems James is right.