As amazing as the 2021 NBA Playoffs have been so far, there’s one problematic variable that somehow dampens the whole thing.

Yes, we’re talking about the devastating injuries to some of the best players in the league. Injuries, of course, are very much a part of the game as ankle tapes and Gatorade.

No matter how much strength and conditioning coaches prepare their players to avoid such scenarios, it happens. But the alarming rate of players dropping like flies in the postseason is indeed beyond worrisome.

Literally no playoff team has been able to avoid the injury bug. Yup, that’s how bad it’s gotten. It got worse come the semis and the conference Finals.

Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is the latest casualty, after hyperextending his knee in Game of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Hawks. He’s not the only one hurting among the final four teams at the moment. Both Trae Young of the Hawks and Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers have both missed time.

But of course, the show still goes on and we will still crown a new NBA champion in the coming weeks. Then again, it’s quite hard not to put an asterisk to whoever wins the Larry O’Brien trophy this year.

For starters, it’s hard to imagine that the Brooklyn would have not at least reached the East Finals had Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden have all been healthy.

The same can be said for the dethroned champions Los Angeles Lakers. A lot of pundits believe that first round exit wouldn’t have happened if only Anthony Davis was not hurt.

Obviously, the status of both Antetokounmpo and Young will greatly determine their respective team fates’.

The same goes for the Clippers, who have done an admirable job without Leonard. Still, the amount of star power lost in these playoffs is just mind boggling.

To this day, some fans mockingly call last year’s championship as a “Mickey Mouse” title since it took place inside Disney premises. After all, that season was an unprecedented one, given it was played in a closed environment with no fans in attendance.

The case, however, can be made that it might just be the hardest championship to win of all time, given the circumstances surrounding it. If there’s any asterisk on an NBA title, it would definitely be this year.

No doubt almost every team came in underpowered due to injuries. This year, the path to the NBA title certainly goes to the team who can stay healthy.


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