Kyrie Irving will be out 3-4 weeks with his latest shoulder injury and thus we continue to bear witness to the NBA’s version of the “Curse of Madden.”
You know the curse I’m referring to, where any player who appears on the latest edition of the Madden video game franchise cover seems destined for excessive bouts with injury. Yeah, that one.
Well, the Association seems to have one, too. Not inspired by a video game, but instead, the NBA draft.
Though the idea was already in my head, I really didn’t research the extent of this startling trend until I caught an intriguing tweet (while Twitter surfing) from ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss.
Anthony Davis, Kyrie, John Wall, Blake, D-Rose, Oden…is there such a thing as a durable No. 1 pick anymore?
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 11, 2013
It was then that I really started to see how far this went back. I mean, just look at the last eight No. 1 overall draft picks: Andrew Bogut (2005), Andrea Bargnani (2006), Greg Oden (2007), Derrick Rose (2008), Blake Griffin (2009), John Wall (2010), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Anthony Davis (2012).
Those eight guys read like a who’s who of injury-prone athletes. Both Bogut and Bargs have been unable to broach their potential because of injuries, Oden’s currently out of the NBA and hoping to return next season, Rose is still sidelined with an ACL injury, Griffin is an All-Star but had to sit out his entire first year and has since battled injury woes on-and-off, Wall is fresh off his latest bump, Irving is headed back to the sidelines and Davis has spent far too much of his rookie campaign riding the pine with physical afflictions.
And if you’re a stickler, Dwight Howard was selected first overall in 2004, and despite embodying durability for the better part of a decade, he’s recently been battling both back and shoulder issues. That makes LeBron James the most durable of the last 10 No. 1 picks and, arguably, the only durable one (though I’m not inclined to include Howard).
I’m no conspiracy theorist nor do I advocate excessive superstition, but this borders on ludicrous. And it begs the question: Why?
Why are so many of the top draft picks struggling to stay healthy? Are they truly cursed? Is this just a coincidence?
Again, I’m not one to believe in curses, but this many happenstances just doesn’t seem possible either.
If we’re looking for a tangible answer, it could be a vast array of things. Maybe some players are making the jump to soon. Perhaps their bodies simply aren’t ready. Or maybe they’re being relied upon too heavily. Remember, these are bad teams they’re being drafted to and subsequently heavy minutes their logging.
Coming off one year of college, an abbreviated season compared to the rigors of the NBA, their bodies just might not be ready, and so they’re susceptible to numerous injuries.
I’m just spit-balling here, though. Feel free to offer up your own theory.
No matter how you look at it, though, it seems the headliner of Madden 2014 will have some company in the NBA’s top draft pick of 2013.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.