As I have done every year since 2013, I made my way to Boston in late February/early March for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Over time, given my background, I’ve increasingly paid attention to the health/injury panels at the conference. While I am interested in all aspects of sports analytics, including player performance, drafting, and the like, I have found myself dabbling in the injury side of things as, to this point, it matches my knowledge and training.
The major injury panel this year was called “The Performance/Precaution Tradeoff: Player Health”. I was intrigued by the name of the panel as it was suggestive of some of the hot topics that dominate injury conversation today. At what point should a player be rested to prevent him/her from entering a “danger zone” of increased risk of injury? When is it better to play a back-up for an injured player? 70% health? 60% health? And how does some of the new data being collected infringe upon privacy rights?
These were just some of the things that popped in my head. Did the panel play out the way I expected or did it bring up other topics I hadn’t considered?
Gordon Hayward. (Erik Drost). No changes were made to this image.
A little over a year ago, Gordon Hayward got injured. Badly. He returned this year. He has struggled. The Boston Celtics have struggled. People are wondering why.
Hayward was recently shifted to the bench, where he put up an 0-fer on New Year’s Eve. He followed that up with a 35-point explosion two days later. What’s going on here?
Cleaning The Glass recently had an interesting discussion encompassing Hayward’s struggles and usage. The discussion inevitably turned to Hayward’s devastating injury, a fractured left tibia and ankle dislocation that involved on-court reduction and surgery to repair both the fracture and ligaments. In case you need a reminder on how gruesome the injury was, see below:
In the aforementioned discussion, CTG founder Ben Falk states the following:
“…a big drop in finishing is one of the easier ways we can see, statistically, the result of injuries. HIs rate of drawing shooting fouls is also on pace to be a career-low…With reduced explosiveness around the rim, he isn’t able to draw contact or finish at the same rates….he’s definitely less explosive on film…of his six dunks this year, only one has been off that previously injured left foot…In Utah, he’d dunk off either foot or both feet.”
Since then, Hayward has boosted that total all the way up to…eleven. Three of those dunks came in one game. What is interesting is that two of those three dunks involved lifting off both feet (it’s hard to tell which foot he’s lifting off of in the third one). You can almost envision Hayward aging a thousand years as he leaps to the hoop:
DeMarcus Cousins. (Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA).
LeBron going to the Lakers wasn’t that big of a surprise once he opted out of his Cavaliers contract, since doing that narrowed his possibilities considerably. A much bigger surprise transpired not much later: DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors.
In a cool market that was projected to be even more tepid for centers, Cousins reportedly was left with no offers Monday morning and had his agent call around the league. With few teams with cap space (and those that had more than the non-taxpayer midlevel to offer not interested), Cousins took a one-year, $5.3-million deal that seems paltry.
Cousins famously saw his 2017-2018 season end January 26 due to an Achilles tendon rupture. Therefore, there are some questions as to when he can come back and, if he does, whether he can be effective.
Still, is this a case of the rich getting richer as it appears on the surface?
In the hours leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft, that sound you heard was the rush of NBA writers everywhere updating their mock drafts. According to various sources, a recent medical report caused enough concern among teams that Porter—once a candidate for the top overall pick and, more recently, a candidate to go #2 to the Kings or #4 to Memphis—was now projected to drop out of the top half of the lottery. Some draftniks even had him out of the top 10.
The heresy proved to be more than correct: Porter fell all the way to pick #14, where the Denver Nuggets scooped him up.
We previously wrote about Porter’s back injury and how it may impact his pro career, but teams were well aware of this issue heading into draft season. Porter had missed nearly the whole college season, after all.
So why did Porter suffer a nearly Aaron Rodgers-like fall?
In the lead up to the 2018 NBA Draft, we have taken a look at various prospects that have injury question marks on their resumes. Using the information available—as well as our medical knowledge, statistics, historical precedence, and the players’ actual basketball skills—we have tried to project the draft stocks of these players, and in some instances indicated at what range an NBA front office should feel comfortable drafting them.
The prospects have ranged from prominent lottery picks to dark-horse second rounders.
Click on the links below to view the prospect profile of your choice.
Over the last few weeks, we have chronicled a few NBA Draft prospects that have injury questions. We have tried to determine if there is anything we can glean about their NBA futures from their injuries.
With the draft now rapidly approaching, I wanted to conclude our NBA Draft Injury Series by briefly hitting on three prospects with varying levels of ability that are expected to go in the draft Thursday night: fast-rising Miami guard Lonnie Walker, energetic Arizona guard Rawle Alkins, and former five-star Kentucky recruit Jarred Vanderbilt.
To read up on the prospects we have already reviewed, click the following links:
The NBA Combine has wrapped up and the deadline for declaring for the draft has passed as well. Teams are bringing in prospects for personal workouts and formulating their draft boards. Of course, medicals play a huge part in their evaluations.
In honor of that, we are looking at 2018 NBA Draft prospects and trying to determine if we can glean anything about their future based on their respective injury red flags.
The draft is June 21.
For our analysis of Michael Porter Jr., click here.
The whole NBA world (myself included) cringed when Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul landed on his back after a spin move and grabbed his right leg in the final minute of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against Golden State. I knew immediately what had happened, and given Paul’s history, it should be no surprise that he suffered a right hamstring strain. Take a look at the video. I’ll wait.
Andre Iguodala has a knee contusion. What does it mean? (Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr).
If you watched Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors-Rockets, you may have noticed Andre Iguodala leave midway through the fourth quarter with an injury that was initially called a “left lateral leg contusion”. Heck, even if you didn’t watch, you probably have heard by now if you have even passing interest in the series, considering Iguodala is vital to unlocking Golden State’s three of their five best lineups this postseason (in lineups that have played together at least 15 minutes), including their most heavily used lineup. And Golden State is already facing decreased wing depth.