Nothin’ But Net
Sometimes when historic things happen in sports, everyone notices. Whether it’s a perfect game in baseball, the Helmet Catch in the Super Bowl or the time Blake Griffin destroyed Timofey Mozgov with the dunk heard round the world.
Other times, historic events in sports are seen, talked about and just about obsessed over, without anyone realizing just how huge they might be.
I’m talking, of course, about Kobe Bryant’s ruptured Achilles.
By now, everyone is aware of what happened. Bryant was worn down playing way too many minutes (since the Lakers needed their inhuman superstar to play with everyone else on the roster banged up, and since they hired the worst coach possible for their roster who decided “Hey, Kobe can do it, right? I’ll play him all the time, what’s the worst that could happen?”), and ruptured his Achilles in a “freak” accident.
(Was that too long a tangent in the middle of that sentence? Oh well, it’s my thing.)
Here’s what no one seems to be talking about, but I will: I think that was the biggest single injury in the history of sports.
You know an explanation is coming.
See, by pretty much any calculation, Kobe’s one of the top 10 NBA players all time. Some even have him in the top five, and I’ve heard as high as number two.
Also, by pretty much any means of evaluation, Kobe is a top 10 player right now. This may seem impossible, given his advanced age, but Kobe can still ball with the best of them, despite running on what surely must be mostly bitterness at this point.
So we have a top 10 player, both all time and right now, gearing up for a potential playoff run (the Lakers were looking to be a somehow very dangerous eight seed), and he goes down with a potentially career-ending injury.
Go ahead, tell me a bigger injury that’s ever happened. And if you bring up Tom Brady, I will laugh you into next week.
I’m not saying that Kobe’s injury will completely change the course of this season or NBA history. The Lakers definitely were not the title favorites they seemed to be heading into the season, but still. Would you really want your favorite team going against angry Playoff Mode Mamba with Dwight Howard at his back?
In terms of fantasy, this injury might not mean much. Sure, Kobe is probably the first top five to ten pick to go down this year, but with only three games remaining that isn’t such a big deal.
But give it time. A decade from now, we’ll probably all be talking about Kobe’s injury as a defining moment in basketball history.
And when we are, I just wanted to make sure that you saw it as history in the making.
I May Be Wrong, But…
Here are the moves I would make in Fantasy Basketball this week:
Add: By the time this comes out, there will be one or two games left for each and every team. The playoff seedings might be decided already, as could lottery positions. I would say to add anyone starting who usually wouldn’t, especially if they are looking for a better contract next season.
Drop: Pretty much anyone who won’t be playing. Pay close attention to who will be resting on the final night of the season, because chances are that everyone might. Drop those players who won’t play, especially injured ones (Kobe Bryant, likely Dwyane Wade), and bring from the depths of your bench those that will see the court.
Look Out For: The NBA Playoffs. They start on Saturday, with one game for each playoff matchup being played at some point this weekend. Even though some series won’t be all that interesting (I’ll be semi-previewing them here next week), there are sure to be at least some fireworks. The playoffs always deliver.
Be Cautious Of: Being in the lead. Some fantasy leagues may be lopsided (as this one certainly seems to be), but other leagues can easily turn on the final day. My personal league is currently separated by a mere four points at the top, and any lead under 300 or so could swing. Don’t make any bets, I guess would be my point here.