LeBron James had called out the NBA when the new season was set to start in record time. This was the shortest offseason in history, and its effects are beginning to show at the worst possible time.
LeBron had advocated for a longer offseason, but the NBA was eager to get things “back to normal” after COVID put a halt in the 2019-20 season midway through.
On Wednesday, Kawhi Leonard added his name to a long list of players who have missed time in the playoffs because of injuries.
LeBron had this to say:
A few hours after James criticized the shortened offseason, NBA spokesman Mike Bass released his response to the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.
“Injury rates were virtually the same this season as they were during 2019-20 while starter-level and All-Star players missed games due to injury at similar rates as the last three seasons,” Bass said, via Marc Stein of the New York Times. “While injuries are an unfortunate reality of our game, we recognize the enormous sacrifices NBA players and teams have made to play through this pandemic.”
The 2020-21 season kicked off on December 22, just 72 days after the Los Angeles Lakers won last season’s NBA Finals at Walt Disney World.
Per ESPN, this season’s All-Stars missed 19% of games, which is the highest percentage in a single season in league history. On average, All-Stars missed 13.7 regular-season games each.
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