Friday, April 4, 2008

Chronic Injuries are No Excuse!

I haven't been reading much lately, but I received the following point from Reader Matt - who is also Commissioner of my fantasy league and who I suspect is also a local Grand Wizard of the Dungeons and Dragons Dress Up Group that just skips the board game (or whatever D&D is) and acts everything out in real costume. Maybe I made that up, but I don't know what he does with his Saturday nights so we'll go with that.

Bill Simmons recently wrote a little summary of Chris Webber's career. It included a classic Simmonsian turn where he wrote something faux-poignant that conflicted something else in the column.

Since I'm lazy I'll just copy and paste Matt's e-mail here:
Early in Simmon’s recent piece on Chris Webber, he states:

Of all the great players who passed through the NBA and never fulfilled their promise, Webber was the only one without a legitimate excuse.

Then he almost immediately follows it up with:

During his "prime" (1994 to 2004), he played 70 games or less in nine different seasons, missed 283 of a possible 870 games and battled a never-ending assortment of freak injuries, culminating with a knee tear in Sacramento that robbed him of his explosiveness and forced him to change his style on the fly (although he somehow remained effective for a few more years).

So to summarize: Webber had no legitimate excuse for never fulfilling his promise of greatness. Unless you count that rash of injuries that hit him during his prime, including a knee injury that forced him to change his fundamental style of play.

Last I checked injuries could be a drag on performance, particularly if you're not able to physically be on the court. He also notes that Bernard King and David Thompson did have an excuse....drug use and knee problems. Perhaps if Chris had developed a coke habit to go with his chronic injuries, Bill would give him a pass for not living up to his potential. Last I'll just point out how insane the definitiveness of Simmons' first statement above is. Of all the great players who didn't hit their potential, he was the only one without an excuse. Doesn't C-Webb have more an excuse than Derrick Coleman, Shawn Kemp and Vince Carter? At his best, he was more effective than any of those guys.

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