This is a new feature where I'll list Disaster Ratings (one being the least problematic, to 10 being code red) for NBA clubs involving offseason retirements and injuries. With some of the recent players going down or calling it quits, I thought it would be nice to have a new section where I can discuss and rate everything.
It was an incredible 20 years for Kobe Bryant, but he is now retired. I was raised in Chicago in the 90s, so I saw Michael Jordan's prime and six titles, so it's hard to make me go nuts for a player and care about him retiring. Yeah, he's a legend and one of the 10 best players in NBA history, but he has annoyed me for years, and excluding the Lakers' moron owner, he is the biggest reason why the Lakers suck. However, I will get to that in a minute, but first I'll be kind to him.
Kobe is a legend; there is no doubting that. He won an MVP (should have won two or more), and he is one of the best offensive players in history, winning five titles and clinching the Western Conference seven times. I will remember him most for the 82-point game 10 years ago against the Raptors, and I will miss having him in this league, as the NBA is stronger with him. I won't get into a LeBron-Kobe argument, but to me, Kobe was the biggest star since Michael Jordan was a Chicago Bull. He was a ridiculous talent, a once-in-a-decade personality, and a champion who possessed an awe inspiring work ethic. However, the Lakers have sucked for three years, and it's his fault.
Why? Players didn't want to play with him - stars didn't want to sign with the Lakers - and his ridiculous contract killed them for two years and well, I have to say it, he was a dick. The latter has little to do with anything, but I just wanted to say that. Jordan was a dick too, but he didn't overstay his welcome in Chicago, which is why literally no one cared.
Because of Kobe's inability to share the Lakers with Dwight Howard, no young elite player tried again, and when he stopped being one of the NBA's best players years ago, the Lakers couldn't win. Kobe is why the Lakers have had their two most-pathetic seasons in their history. It will take the Lakers years to get back to the playoffs despite having some really solid young talent, and although this is because of a mix of the Buss Family, GM Mitch Kupchack and Byron Scott, I cannot help but be annoyed. The only reason most aren't annoyed is because of his retirement tour, which was a genius idea to let the Lakers suck and get their draft pick (only their pick if 1-3), but all I saw was a selfish player content to have the largest contract in the league and take 25 shots per game. This season should have been about getting rookie D'Angelo Russell, their next franchise player, groomed into becoming a franchise player, but the only thing people will remember about his rookie season is punking Nick Young, which was my favorite part of the NBA season.
I don't think Kobe gives a damn about his teammates today or the state of the Lakers, and although he truly is one of the best players in history and arguably the best player of my teenaged-to-adult-life (I'm 27 for those wondering), I don't have any real feelings of longing to see him play again. Hell, I watched the Warriors' 82nd game and didn't care to DVR Kobe's last game. Yes, I will have fond memories of Kobe, but despite losing millions in clothing and ticket sales, the Lakers need Kobe to retire so they can rebuild this franchise.
March 29 Updates
Anthony Davis will miss the season with two injuries: 1/10 Disaster Rating
The Pelicans aren't making the playoffs, so their best player missing 10 games means little, and as he has two injuries that require surgery, it's best for him - and the team - to get healthy now and ready to start the 2017 season. As for Davis, he will have to miss the Olympics - would be the starting center for the United States -, and this also likely loses him $25 million - contract incentives - on his contract that starts next season, as he needed to make the All-NBA team for a third time if he was to be the first player to get a third contract max in his second contract - the Derrick Rose Rule. Davis still gets $125 million, so don't feel too sorry for him. Regardless, for the Pelicans this isn't anything.
Chandler Parsons will miss the season after knee surgery: 7/10 Disaster Rating
Chandler Parsons had knee surgery in the offseason, but he quietly had a really nice season for the Mavericks. But, he will only have played 61 games in his second season for the them after signing a max contract. Dallas is in a battle with Utah and Houston for the seventh and eighth seeds, and all three are basically tied, so this will really hurt the Mavericks in that race as Parsons is one of their best players. They won't win in the playoffs, in fact one game against the Spurs or Warriors would be difficult, so I cannot give this more than a 7/10.
Center Myers Leonard will miss the season with a shoulder injury: 6/10 Disaster Rating
The Portland Trail Blazers have had an incredible season. Thought to be re-building, the young Trail Blazers currently have the sixth-best record in the West and have a real chance to get to fifth-best in the next three weeks. Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum are right to get most of the credit; however, Leonard has had one of the most randomly excellent season of any player. The 7-1 lottery pick is now one of the best shooting big men in the NBA and has turned himself into an excellent stretch four. The Trail Blazers will miss him in the playoffs as he is arguably their best offensive big man.
Mario Chalmers will miss the season with a torn Achilles: 2/10 Disaster Rating
Mario Chalmers was traded after about 20 games to the Grizzlies and was one of the best sixth man in the league this season, as he averaged 10.8 points and 3.8 assists for the Grizzlies in just 22.8 minutes a game. This is a big loss, as they are already mediocre when it comes to depth, but with no Marc Gasol, they aren't winning in the playoffs regardless and are locked in the fifth or sixth seed, so really it doesn't matter.
Mike Conley will miss 3-4 weeks with an Achilles injury: 7/10 Disaster Rating
With Marc Gasol injured for the season with a broken foot, Mike Conley is easily the No. 1 player for the Grizzlies, and he will now miss about a month with an Achilles injury. With no Mario Chalmers either, Memphis has jack at point guard now, but like I said with Mario Chalmers, Grizzlies don't have a chance to win a playoff series, so it really doesn't matter. The big issue is that Mike Conley is a free agent after the season and is loved in this league, so somebody is giving him $100 million, and I would have liked to see Conley play as the No. 1 guy for a couple months to prove to the Grizzlies that they should give him max money. With Conley-Gasol, Memphis has an elite foundation, and if the clubs loses him, it will have to rebuild. Just pay him.
Forward Gordon Hayward has plantar fasciitis: 9/10 Disaster Rating
The Jazz are just a few games from the Western Conference Playoffs, with a real chance to get there with the Mavericks having a lot of trouble, but Utah's franchise player, Gordon Hayward, has plantar fasciitis, which will annoy him the rest of the season. This is an injury that just needs rest, but the Jazz can't do that, so their best player will now be limited for the season, which might just cost them their first playoff appearance since they had Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Michael Carter-Williams will miss the rest of season with a hip injury: 7/10 Disaster Rating
Michael Carter-Williams has so much talent that he hasn't been able to translate into becoming a franchise point guard to date, but he missed half the season, still hasn't played 82 games in Milwaukee and he did improve his offensive efficiency in his third season, so he still can become the all-star I expected him to be. His size and talent are elite and few players average 10-plus points, 5-plus rebounds, 5-plus assists, a block and steal a game, so he isn't a lost cause. I really wish we could have seen Carter-Williams play a big role in a lost season for the Bucks in the next few months, and their losing him means they still don't know if they have their franchise point guard.
O.J. Mayo will miss rest of season with a leg injury: 1/10 Disaster Rating
O.J. Mayo is a fine veteran, but this team isn't making the playoffs and should be grooming its young talent, like rookie guard Rashad Vaughn and second-year guard Tyler Ennis regardless, so this isn't a big loss.
Steve Novak will miss the season with a knee injury: 2/10 Disaster Rating
Well, I said Novak wasn't going to help the Bucks a week ago when he was signed. I was right, although it sucks that it is because of a knee injury. Regardless, a veteran who wasn't going to help a team which isn't going to make the playoffs really doesn't mean too much. I like Novak which is why it is a 2/10.
I don't know what type of fracture it is, as they haven't said, but he won't be playing for at least the next six weeks, but he will likely miss the season. Regardless, he is the Grizzlies' best player, and they could miss the playoffs, but they aren't winning if they get there, so what actually matters is that their 7-foot franchise player has a broken foot. I cannot explain to you how hard it is for a big man whose job involves jumping to deal with a broken foot, but Yao retired because of it, as did Bill Walton, Brook Lopez has dealt with it for years, and Joel Embiid, the third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft hasn't played a game because of it. This could be a big issue for the franchise or maybe I am just being pessimistic. One of the two, but I will give this a 9/10.
Tiago Splitter will miss the season with a hip injury: 4/10 Disaster Rating
Tiago Splitter is an excellent NBA center; however, he really wasn't a fit for the Hawks when healthy, playing just 16 minutes a game, so this isn't too big, more so as the club seems to want to shuffle the roster and make trades. Atlanta has no chance in the East and is just a mediocre playoff team, so losing the team's second center doesn't mean much for the record. That being said, if the Hawks trade All-Star center Al Horford for another elite talent, as is discussed, they could really use Splitter. He could have proved himself a big part of this franchise.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will miss the season with a torn rotator cuff: 7/10 Disaster Rating
This is the same injury Kidd-Gilchrist just returned from after missing most of the first half of the season; a recurring injury after seven games doesn't give one much hope for this not happening to him again. The Hornets were also playing excellent basketball with Kidd-Gilchrist healthy, getting themselves into the eighth seed, and he was playing some of the best ball of his career, so this really hurts their playoff chances. This is a big injury for the Hornets and may cost them the playoffs.
Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee: 5/10 Disaster Rating
Jimmy Butler is the Chicago Bulls, and although it hurts, it doesn't hurt too much, as his injury looked like it could cost him the season. Still, the Bulls are now the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and are playing some pathetic basketball. They have lost 12 of 17 games and four of five missing Butler already, however, they are dealing with so many injuries; Nikola Mirotic will be healthy in a few weeks and they just got Mike Dunleavy for the first time.
Chicago still has two elite players in Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose, so this team can still win most games. With Butler though, the Bulls are arguably still the second best team in the East. Regardless, a club that its itself a contender is missing their franchise player in a time of need, so this isn't ideal.
Austin Rivers will miss at least 4 weeks with a broken hand: 1/10 Disaster Rating
I have said for a year that somebody needs to tell Doc Rivers that his son sucks at basketball. Austin Rivers is so mediocre; it boggles the mind that he is a key player for a team that considers itself a title contender. Yeah, he scores and defends some, but that's it, and still his father gave him $7 million in July. That's not nepotism; that's being a crappy GM. Regardless, I am sure that missing Rivers' 8 points and 1.3 assists a game will be a big loss to a team that has missed Blake Griffin for half the season and is still winning. Pablo Prigioni will get most of Rivers' minutes, and although Prigioni is 39, he is the stronger player, so this isn't a big deal.
Festus Ezeli will miss about 6 weeks : 5/10 Disaster Rating
A lot of people don't know who Ezeli is, but he is arguably the best big man on the team with the best record in the NBA. The 30th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft has become an excellent rebounder, shot-blocker and scorer, and is just as important to the Warriors as Andrew Bogut. Averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes, the free agent to be is one of the best reserves in the NBA, and Golden State will need him for the playoffs against the Spurs and Clippers.
As for now, it shouldn't hurt the Warriors too much. However, if they lose Andrew Bogut again (injured twice this season), they won't have a center and their defense and rebounding will be mediocre. Assuming Bogut is healthy and this is just for six weeks or so, I doubt it costs Golden State a game, but with now zero insurance for Andrew Bogut and knee injuries being tricky, this deserves a 5/10.
Manu Ginobili will miss at least a month with a testicular injury: 1/10 Disaster Rating
There are so many jokes I can make and want to make, in fact I would like to make a dozen testicle jokes, but I am a professional, so I won't. However, the Spurs are a team-first franchise and it takes a lot of balls to have surgery and not help them Manu. Damnit, Mike! I apologize, but come on, a man had surgery on his testicles because of a testicular injury and that deserves at least one joke. As for the Spurs, well, they are the Spurs and I think they would be fine if they had seven players miss a month with testicular surgery. This team has so much depth at guard with Patty Mills, Ray McCallum and Jonathan Simmons on the bench, so that Ginobili really wouldn't be missed much until mid-season.
T.J. Warren will miss the season with a foot injury: 9/10 Disaster Rating
The Suns aren't winning and won't; this is well-known now that we are mid-season. This is a lost season, and it is an interesting one as their coach was fired, their best player tore his knee and they are on an epic current losing streak, but now they have now lost one of the few nice parts of their season, second-year forward T.J. Warren. The 14th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft was one of my favorite prospects that season, as he can play the three and four and was an excellent college scorer. After his mediocre rookie season, where he played less minutes than he deserved, he was showing the scoring ability in season two, which made him so enticing and really was Phoenix's best forward, scoring almost 20 points per 36 minutes on 50 percent shooting and 40 percent three-point shooting.
As for the Suns' season, this won't make them lose more because that really isn't possible. But I give it a 9/10 because with Earl Watson coaching in a lost season, Warren was very likely to start getting more than the 22.8 minutes he got with Jeff Hornacek and, to me, would have proven that he is a key foundation player and starter.
It is a lost three months for Warren to show the team what he can be, and so he likely will go into next season as a bench forward and not the potential 18-20-point scorer I think he can be. For a young team trying to learn who they are, that is a big, big loss.
Blake Griffin will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken hand for being an idiot: 9/10 Disaster Rating
It is difficult to put a grade on being a moron, but in this case, Blake Griffin gets a 9/10 for punching the team's equipment manager at dinner and breaking his hand. Already injured, Blake Griffin the moron will continue to sit on the bench and hurt his team by not being on the court. This is embarrassing for the Clippers and Griffin, and it will hurt their record, too. Griffin is one of the best players in the league, and although the Clippers are pretty much guaranteed to be the No. 4 seed, this is just a mess for them. How do you lose a fight to the equipment manager?
Nikola Mirotic will miss at least three weeks because of his appendectomy: 4/10 Disaster Rating
It looks like rookie Bobby Portis is about to get a lot of playing time because the Bulls, who are already missing Joakim Noah for the season, won't have sixth man Nikola Mirotic for about three weeks because of an appendectomy. This is really poor timing for Mirotic as the Bulls are struggling and after a few poor weeks of play, Mirotic was playing some of the best ball of his season. It is just a few weeks and the Bulls still have Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis and Cameron Bairstow, but losing a key player who is playing excellent ball when the team is playing its weakest ball of the season really hurts. Chicago is looking for one of the first three seeds in the East, and this could hurt the club's record some.
Andre Roberson will miss 3+ weeks with a knee injury : 2/10 Disaster Rating
Many casual fans don't know who Andre Roberson is and I doubt you could pick his face in a crowd, but he is a starter for the third-best team in the NBA, which is a nice tidbit. He is a 6-foot-7 perimeter defender with elite size, and although he has no offense, you don't need it with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the starting five. Roberson is who he is, a solid role player for one of the elite NBA teams, and his team will miss him. Expect sixth man Dion Waiters or bench shooter Anthony Morrow to start, which will hurt the Thunder's defense, but it shouldn't cost them wins, however, they are going to need Roberson for the playoffs to guard players like James Harden, Kahwhi Leonard and Klay Thompson. Roberson should be fine by then.
Ronnie Price will miss 3-5 weeks with a toe injury: 1/10 Disaster Rating
The Suns' third point guard will be missing some time with a big toe injury, but with starting point guard and franchise player Eric Bledsoe missing the season with a knee injury, really it's just Brandon Knight at point guard now, and he is a mediocre distributor. This is a 1/10, as the Suns right now are arguably the weakest team in the NBA as they have gone from a likely playoff team to a likely No. 3-5 draft pick. Phoenix have no chance at the playoffs, so losing a bench guard means little, and this just means more playing time for excellent rookie Devin Booker and solid third season shooting guard Archie Goodwin. This season is now about the Suns' young players, and this just gives the staff an excuse to give them more playing time. Easy 1.
Eric Gordon will miss 4-6 weeks with an injured finger: 9/10 Disaster Rating
The Pelicans may have one of weaker records in the NBA, but because the Western Conference is just embarrassing this season, they are just four games from the playoffs and have a real shot to make it. New Orleans have arguably the best roster of the teams going for the No. 8 seed (Pelicans, Jazz, Kings and Trail Blazers), although I give the nod to the Jazz. Regardless, losing one of their five best players and their best scoring guard hurts the Pelicans chances of making the playoffs; they are now weaker at guard, which was already a problem for them. What makes this a 9/10 though is that New Orleans is actually trying to find a trade for him as he has a valuable expiring contract, and with him injured, he may be sitting when the team wants to make a trade. He won't be with the Pelicans next season, but as an injured trade piece and solid shooting guard, this hurts them on the court and hurts their front office's chances to make a big trade. This is big for the franchise.
Joakim Noah will miss 4-6 months with a dislocated shoulder: 10/10 Disaster Rating
Joakim Noah played four games after missing nine to a shoulder sprain, but he dislocated it on Friday night and so the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year may not play for the Bulls again, as he will be a free agent in the offseason. His signing was in doubt, as he is will be 31 in a month and the Bulls have so many talented big men, but although their depth is excellent, this is a big loss for Chicago.
Noah is the team's best defender, and as its defense is pathetic with Fred Hoiberg, I don't see Chicago getting to where it should be anytime this year. Also, Noah is one of the best play-making big men in the NBA and the Bulls love to play through him and Pau Gasol offensively, so they lose a key play-maker, which is big as they really don't have a point guard (Derrick Rose is a scoring guard). Chicago may have the big men to replace Noah, and he was on the bench playing only 20-25 minutes a game, but the Bulls aren't nearly as talented with him hurt; for a team trying for a championship, that means a lot. You will be missed, Joakim.
Small forward Quincy Pondexter will miss the season with knee surgery: 2/10 Disaster Rating
Quincy Pondexter hasn't played this season, but would likely be playing a big role for the Pelicans, who are playing so poorly this season it's kind of ridiculous. He would be given the minutes that Luke Babbitt and Alonzo Gee are getting and might have started for New Orleans. The Pelicans are missing his shooting and offense, but they would still suck if he was there, as they are a mess this season.
Center Al Jefferson will miss 6 weeks with a knee injury: 1/10 Disaster Rating
For two years, Al Jefferson was the franchise player for the Hornets, but this season, that honor is a mix of Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum. With injury and suspension, Jefferson has already missed half the season, and when he has played, he has been rather mediocre. The Hornets are getting strong play from their two young big men Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky and their small-ball is excellent, so they are developing talent and still winning; this isn't big for them.
Jarrett Jack will miss the season with a knee injury: 3/10 Disaster Rating
The Nets' starting point guard will miss the season after an ugly knee injury, and although Jack is their third-best player, this team is one of the weakest in the NBA, so losing him really isn't too big; they weren't going to win much. Brooklyn now has jack (get it?) at point guard, but this is a three because he was a valuable trade asset for the the club, which needs to be trading anything it can for assets, as the roster has few of them.