Ricky Rubio dribbled the ball upcourt. His baby face was stern with ficus, looking one way when we all know the ball is going the other. He was electrifying fans and in combination with Kevin Love, he was putting the Timberwolves in a position to make their first serious playoff run since Kevin Garnett was wearing home colors.
Then he drove to the basket and yelled in pain. He crumbled to the ground and later learned he had torn his ACL and was tone for the rest of the season, cutting his much anticipated first season very short.
This began the debate about the shortned schedlue caused by the lockout but we didn’t take the debate too seriously — at least not yet.
That search began to gain speed when ironhorse Superman Dwight Howard had to have back surgery after hardly ever missing a game up to this point and never having to be tagged ‘out for the season’.
But the search for answers hit it’s intensified peak when Derrick Rose, a player who prided himself on keeping his body in tip-top shape, tore his ACL to cap off an injury riddled season that saw five different injuries to five different areas and cost the MVP 26 games before claiming the rest of his postseason.
The obvious answer is the lockout.
Regularly players have an 82 game schedule to condition their bodies and to rest in between games. But when the season was shortened to 66 games, it was a death sentence to players who put the type of stress on their bodies that Rose does.
We saw just how brutal a basketball season is. It’s a matter of mathematical science that these guys keep their bodies from breaking down and we saw if you mess with that formula and expect the players to go full speed as though it’s an 82 game season it’s not a good combo.
Derrick Rose. Dwight Howard. Kobe Bryant. Iman Shumpert. Ricky Rubio. Ray Allen. Brook Lopez. Eric Gordon. Al Horford.
All players who are rarely injured, all went down one after another like dominos during the season with next year largely in jeopardy because of the greed we saw during the lockout that shortened this season.
But don’t expect NBA Commissioner David Stern to agree with you.
“I don’t think it’s related at all. Zero,” Stern told Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio.”When anything happens, that’s going to happen,” Stern said of people trying to find a cause-and-effect relationship. “But I was just reading something from a doctor who said that he just doesn’t believe it. There’s no evidence that the wear and tear … and on Derrick it’s kind of interesting, it was horrible to watch, but he was out. He missed 27 games earlier this year, so he only played in 40 of those games that we had in this quote condensed schedule.”
The arrogance dripping off of Stern is no surprise to those who covered the NBA lockout. David Stern’s devilishly innocent shrugs where images that are seared into the minds of those who who waiting for an answer on the lockout.
But this takes it to a new level because it’s blatant ignorance.
Stern is trying to say that doctors (of whom I’d like to hear from myself) told him that wear and tear wouldn’t come from a shortened season.
Even though before the season even started one of the across the board concerns was how well players would hold up trying to complete a season in a condensed time span.
The answer was not very well.
Several trainers said before the season that maybe not all NBA players would endure gruesome injuries due to their style of play slamming into a 66 game brick wall. But they did say that for players like Derrick Rose, who put so much stress on their bodies, it would not end well.
It didn’t but this isn’t just a fourm about Rose, this is a wide spread epidemic this year and we’re not done.
What’s it going to take for David Stern to realize he did this? LeBron James tearing an ACL?
Could you imagine the instant backlash all over the NBA universe if LeBron James has to miss the entire postseason, setting back the Big 3 and their title hopes another year?
David Stern is sitting on his throne sweating, he knows he did this but he’s not going to admit it. He’s immune to it, people already hate him so what’s adding to that number really going to do?
Had the season not been retooled to recoup the money lost, this may not have happened. If we had just picked up where we left off with the lockout chances are we wouldn’t be where we are now where teams are in the playoffs but without their stars.
It’s proof that Stern just cared about the almighty dollar and doesn’t give a damn about the game itself.
No Dwight Howard? That’s fine, Orlando can lose and we still have Chicago and Miami. No Derrick Rose? That’s fine, it just makes things easier for the Heat to make it to the Finals where everyone will watch to see if LeBron can finally win a title.
Either way, David Stern and the NBA get what they want. Players are pawns and Stern made a fatal step in stopping short of admitting it and absolving himself of all blames and sins when it comes to the state of the NBA.
It took Stern the better part of the last decade to rebuild the NBA’s image from the bling-bling thug days that produced the Malice at the Palace to the classy, suit and tie look we have with Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.
But Stern shows that just like a little kid that builds a city with his blocks all day, it can be all smashed and destroyed with awesome ease.
Stay tuned to ‘Pippen Ain’t Easy’ all postseason long to get the best, most up to date news and analysis on not only the Chicago Bulls but the entire playoff field from here until the final game of the NBA Finals.