New Orleans Pelicans not the only team with bad injury luck

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers. Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers. Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

When you’re a fan of a team, it can be easy to develop a victim complex.

Why do bad things only happen to us? This team always catches a break. If this hadn’t happened, we’d be amazing. 

Phrases like those are commonplace in any fanbase. And in the case of our New Orleans Pelicans, such complaints would be true.

Thirty-seven games into the season, the Pelicans were 23-14 and one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, tragedy struck the organization with star player Zion Williamson suffering a strained hamstring against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 2nd that would end up costing him the rest of the season.

The team finished their final 45 games with an uninspiring 19-26 record and were promptly eliminated in the play-in tournament by the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder.

Injuries ruined their season. However, when you look across the league at some playoff teams, you see that they aren’t the only ones with bad luck.

We’ll start out West with our league-wide examinations of misfortune. The Minnesota Timberwolves were starting to hit their groove toward the end of the season. But then the injury bug hit. By the end of their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets, the Timberwolves were almost out of bodies. In Game 5, they had to play without Naz Reid, Jaden McDaniels, and Kyle Anderson.

The Memphis Grizzlies may have been blown out in the final game of their first-round clash against the Los Angeles Lakers, but that game looks a lot different if they aren’t playing it without one of their best shooters/spacers in Luke Kennard. That says nothing about the fact that they played the entire series without Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke and were without star guard Ja Morant for Game 2.

Load management didn’t seem to help the Los Angeles Clippers against Phoenix Suns. The Clippers were forced to play the entire series without Paul George and the final three games without Kawhi Leonard. The Suns were also missing Cameron Payne for most of the series.

The Sacramento Kings’ season was almost over when De’Aaron Fox suffered an avulsion fracture on his index finger in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. But he’s been able to soldier through the pain and keep playing (so far).

Out East, Ben Simmons was sidelined for the entirety of the Brooklyn Nets’ series against the 76ers. But the real story in that series is the LCL sprain Joel Embiid suffered in Game 3 that now leaves his status for the conference semifinals in doubt.

Julius Randle’s status was in question heading into the New York Knicks’ series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. And while he made it through most of the series, he re-injured his ankle in Game 5 and is now out for the beginning of the second round.

The biggest injury of all in this playoffs may be the one that Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered in Game 1 against the Miami Heat. That caused him to miss most of the first three games, which enabled the Heat to build a 2-1 series lead and eventually upset the one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Oh, and the Heat also lost Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo for the postseason (at least in Oladipo’s case) during the series.

So yeah, it looks like our Pelicans aren’t the only unlucky ones after all.

Next. 10 Players the Pelicans gave up on way too soon. dark