The 2020-21 NBA season has been a peculiar one because of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA schedule has been rigorous this season and has put a toll on the players' bodies, resulting in injuries.
Injuries change the fortunes of teams, especially if it involves their star players. The 2020-21 NBA season has seen its fair share of injuries; thankfully, none have been career-ending for the players.
Five injuries that impacted the 2020-21 NBA season
Several notable injuries affected teams during the 2020-21 NBA season. Star players have been forced to watch from the sidelines as their teams get pummeled in the league. Here are the top five injuries that were the most impactful in the NBA this season:
#1 The LA Lakers' Power Duo
The LA Lakers started the 2020-21 NBA season as defending champions and played like it until Anthony Davis and LeBron James were sidelined due to injuries. The LA Lakers were only two games behind the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference when they had both players healthy.
Things went wrong when Anthony Davis was sidelined with a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg. The Lakers went 14-16 in 30 games without Davis. Although they had a better win percentage than the Washington Wizards with Bradley Beal in those 39 games, they dropped to the 5th position in the league.
Even with Davis out, LeBron was doing a great job of carrying the team. However, things got worse for the Lakers when the veteran was also sidelined with an ankle sprain on March 20.
The Lakers remained the best defensive team in the NBA without both players. However, they found it hard to get things going on offense. Both players are now back, which means we might see a turnaround in the win-loss column for the Lakers.
#2 Markelle Fultz
The Orlando Magic have gone from playoff contenders in the 2019-20 NBA season to rotting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table this year. Their injury woes started in the 2020 NBA bubble when Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL.
Markelle Fultz met the same fate eight games into the 2020-21 season and has been sidelined ever since. The unavailability of both players spelled doom for the Orlando Magic as they have found it extremely difficult to get wins, recording only 19 so far this season.
With Fultz on the court, the Magic won six of their first eight games in the season. Things went downhill in his absence, resulting in a 6-game losing streak. The decision to rebuild came after a terrible spell, leading to the trades of their top three players in Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier.
#3 T.J. Warren
The Indiana Pacers have battled with injuries over the years, resulting in their lack of success in the NBA. It was more of the same this season as star man T. J. Warren was sidelined with a foot injury after playing only four games. The forward had a flying start to the year, averaging 15.5 points early on. Unfortunately, he will be out for the season.
The team is currently ranked 9th in the Eastern Conference, all thanks to the efforts of Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon. They have the opportunity to make the NBA playoffs for the fifth consecutive season through the Play-In tournament.
#4 Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray has been exceptional for the Denver Nuggets, showing the same quality that led the franchise to a deep run in the 209-20 NBA playoffs. His partnership with MVP front runner Nikola Jokic has been the 'it' factor for the Nuggets.
The youngster averaged 21.2 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 40.8 percent from beyond the arc before coming down with a season-ending injury. Murray tore his ACL in the final minutes of a matchup against the Golden State Warriors on April 13. The Nuggets have coped since his absence, but his impact will be missed come the playoffs.
Although Jokic has continued to lead the team to victories, their chance to go all the way to the NBA Finals has become slimmer. Injuries are a part of the game. However, one that comes this late will play a critical role in the team's title hopes.
#5 Klay Thompson
The Golden State Warriors have had a rough couple of years leading into the 2020-21 NBA season. Kevin Durant tore his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, resulting in the Toronto Raptors winning the title in six games. Klay Thompson also tore his ACL, which led to him sitting out the entire 2019-20 NBA season.
Things were starting to look up for the Warriors as Klay was in recovery during the off-season. The guard was expected to make his return this season to continue his record-breaking 3-point shooting. However, the Warriors could not catch a break as he injured his right Achilles tendon during preseason fixtures.
Thompson became unavailable for the second consecutive season, leaving Stephen Curry to carry the team. Curry has done an exceptional job so far with the help of Draymond Green. The Golden State Warriors missed the playoffs in the 2019-20 season but are battling tooth and nail for a spot in the newly introduced Play-In tournament.