The NBA lost two months of its season to the NBA lockout. Already looking at falling revenue, Stern decided to play catch up, scheduling 66 games in four months, instead of 82 in five and a half months. The crunched season may be David Stern’s ultimate revenge as players continue to drop. Chris Bosh is the latest victim after he suffered an abdominal muscle strain on a dunk.
Stern’s schedule has already ended a couple of players’ careers and others may never be the same. Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups, Jeremy Lin and now Chris Bosh have all been causalities this year. In other years maybe one or two of these names would be seen with season ending injuries, but not this many. Of course, that list does not include the time missed by other stars or the big injuries to role players.
When future labor battles ensue, the players should take warning. The lockout meant that players could not train full time on a consistent schedule with their team. The players had to go to meetings during the lockout and attend to other offseason celebrity activities. Then when the season began, they were playing more basketball in a shorter time than they have in their careers. Of course, things snapped and knees fell out of place. Stern’s ultimate lesson is that he controls the basketball. Superstars may change from team to team, but Stern can make sure they have a tough bout once they get there. It is all in his hands.
The playoffs now feel like the ’Survival of the Fittest’. The L.A. Clippers barely survived the first round. With Billups already out, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both injured themselves in the first round. They will fight on against a San Antonio Spurs team with a coach willing to lose games to keep his players healthy. Manu Ginobli was hurt and Tim Duncan sat out some, but the Spurs seem in a very good position despite their age. The L.A. Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder have been fairly free of injuries, but with the bad blood coursing through the Ron “Metta World Peace” Artest elbowing Harden incident, the winner may not make it out of the series unscathed.
In the East, the Boston Celtics age has shown more through fatigue than injury. Having to rely on Rajon Rando’s youth on one hand but maturity to not push a ref on the other hand while the rest of the team stays healthy will be a tough task against the 76ers. As for the Miami Heat, they may be able to beat the Indiana Pacers without Chris Bosh, but will they be able to control any of the Western Conference big men without him? Lebron Wade and Wade will have to be one hundred precent.
Welcome to David Stern’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ NBA. An asterisk with a broken leg will already be attached to this year’s NBA champion.