Sorry for the double dose of KP2 but Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus has followed up his look at the NBA's injury numbers with some thoughts on comments made by sports kinesiologist Zig Ziegler last week, concluding that a survey of the team's medical staff is a worthwhile idea.
When I first read Ziegler’s account of his prophetic predictions to the Blazers, something struck me as off before Benjamin Golliver related his sketchy backstory on Blazersedge: They were too accurate. When you project the future for a living, the first thing you learn is that nobody is right all the time. That’s not the goal. The idea is to be enough better than conventional wisdom to provide value.
The Golden State Warriors are an interesting test case. After losing more games to injury than any team in the league in 2009-10, they revamped their training staff last summer, bringing in Chad Bergman from San Antonio to serve as head athletic trainer. Yet the Warriors still rank below average in games lost this year, and 25th in WARP lost largely because Stephen Curry continues to battle ankle injuries. Was the issue with the training staff or the players themselves?
Over the course of the three years, no team has lost more games or WARP to injury. Portland was 29th in games lost in 2009-10 and 28th in 2010-11. There are some underlying explanations here. In the case of Roy, GM Kevin Pritchard and the rest of the Blazers front office knowingly took a risk, and were rewarded handsomely for it before Roy’s knees broke down. Because he has missed so much time, Oden’s injuries also skew the numbers. Yet what stands out as much is the sheer number of different players who have suffered major injuries, including guard Elliot Williams undergoing season-ending surgeries each of his two years in Portland.
I think it’s fair at this point to ask for a review of the Blazers’ medical practices. But it’s important to keep in mind that the organization should study its practices relative to the rest of the league and not the observed results.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter