Games Lost Due To Injury And The Impact On The Kings' Record

imgres.0.html Many have commented on the Kings' record this year and shared that it has been a significant disappointment given how close the team finished last year in the playoff race, the continued growth expected out of the Super Team (only young), and the perceived value in the free agent signings brought in during the off season. While there is pervasive unanimity that the Kings should not be lottery bound this year, the collective reasoning as to why the team has underperformed has created some discord amongst the base at STR. In short, Whether it is that the top half of the Western Conference is just stronger, the style of play deployed under Luke Walton didn't play to the player's strengths, players underperformed and/or the injuries, the team's lack of success seems to be hard to pinpoint. While we may all weight those factors differently, I specifically wanted to see if there was any correlation to the number of games lost due to injury and the Kings's record.

In 2018 the Grizzles topped the chart with 337 missed games due to injury while the Charlotte Hornets only had 53 missed games due to injury. The Mean was 182.6 games. The Kings were one of the healthier teams only missing 106 games good enough for 7th place last year. While rationalizing who missed the games I think its important to note that Kings also had their core starters for almost all of their games:

  • B. Hield = 82 GP / 82 GS
  • D. Fox = 81 GP / 81 GS
  • W. Cauley-Stein = 81 GP / 81 GS
  • N. Belića = 77 GP / 70 GS
  • Shumpert // Barnes = 42 GP / 40 GS // 28 GP / 28 GS
  • B. Bogdanović = 70 GP / 17 GS (not included in the starter totals)
Totals = 82 Games * 5 Starters = 410 games
2018/2019 Kings Starters had 386 games starting together or 94% of their games.

In 2019 so far the Portland Trailblazers have logged 224 missed games due to injuries for most in the NBA while the San Antonio Spurs have only amassed 13 games missed. The current mean is 134.1 games and the Kings have already missed 137 games due to injury placing them 14th. While that might not seem that significant, when you rationalize who has missed the games it seems to tell a different story:

  • Barnes = 57 GP / 57 GS
  • N. Belića = 57 GP / 54 GS
  • B. Hield = 57 GP / 44 GS
  • D. Fox = 39 GP / 37 GS
  • M. Bagley = 13 GP / 6 GS
  • D. Dedmond = 34 GP / 10 GS
  • R. Holmes = 37 GP / 33 GS
  • H. Giles = 31 GP / 10 GS
  • B. Bogdanović = 46 GP / 13 GS
Totals = 57 Games * 5 Starters = 285 games
2019/2020 Kings Starters had 198 games starting together or 69% of their games.

When you look at the relative success of Dave Joerger's team last year that finished with 39 wins you could make the argument that those wins were aided by having all five starters intact for the almost the whole season compared to the average team in 2018. Conversely this year's team under Luke Walton, has not had that benefit at all with Bagley missing 44 games, his replacement Holmes missing 20 games, Fox also missing 20, and the mysterious Giles with 26 games missed between the DNPs / games missed due to something perhaps associated with a lingering injury.

When I look at this season, I can see the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio as outliers. The Raptors have 200 missed games but have been able to juggle their deeply talented lineup to and as a result still are a team to beat in the East, while the the Spurs having only missed 13 games due to injury seem to be unable to muster many wins based on their health suggesting that father time is knocking on their door.

While I doubt any of this will change people's perspective as being a significant factor re: the Kings' record this year I find it quite reasonable that if the Kings were as healthy as last year they would probably have a better record due to having better cohesion by getting to know each other better. At the all star break in 2019, the Kings had 30 wins and 27 losses or 6 games better than the record this year through 57 games. If they were healthy on par with last year do you think the team is 6 games better so far this year? Win Shares are super flawed but it is interesting that Holmes is at 4.6 and Fox is at 2.7. Bagley's limited minutes this year gives him a paltry .4 WS but last year he finished at 3.6 so with a healthy season it stands to reason the Kings would at a minimum be consistent with last year's record despite the other contributing factors that have negatively impacted the team's success.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)