Falling down with injury during the NBA campaign can be something that kills a career, either because the body doesn’t respond the same way, because the team just moved on with someone younger or that’s a better fit or because players just can’t seem to be mentally ready to push their bodies to the limit once again.
Those season-ending injuries have to be managed very carefully, mostly when it comes to finally making that comeback, trying not to force the body and just getting the groove back after months of being sidelined without the opportunity to actually go through a full practice and play 5 on 5 instead of just minor shooting drills and stuff like that.
During the prior campaign, several players were forced to sit down for the season after suffering heartbreaking injuries, but gladly for them, they’re actually capable of coming back at some point of this upcoming campaign.
With the NBA season almost underway, let’s hope these players we’re about to mention don’t pull off a Derrick Rose and come back stronger, faster and better instead of becoming just another “what if”.
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Thomas (January)
5. Ben Simmons
Even though he won’t be making an NBA comeback but his debut, the former LSU point forward is one of the injured players we’re looking up the most to watch this season, as he’s one of the most exciting prospects that the league has seen since LeBron James arrival, and the Philadelphia 76ers were smart to be extremely cautious with him.
Simmons is an early frontrunner to win the Rookie of the Year award and even though he’s very likely to have his minutes limited and even an occasional DNP on back to backs, we just can’t wait to watch him take the league for assault and show his crafty moves and breathtaking passes.
4. Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay is also very likely to be ready for the season opener now as the newest member of the San Antonio Spurs, and now that Jonathon Simmons is heading to the Orlando Magic, he’ll have the huge responsibility of leading the second unit offensively.
Of course, Gay won’t have as many touches as he’s used to during his career, but he seems like a perfect fit for the San Antonio system thanks to his ability to play and guard 3 spots, so if he manages to play for the team and not hogg shots, he’s going to be an early candidate for the 6th Man of the Year accolade.
3. Tony Parker
Tony Parker is another member of the San Antonio Spurs that’s likely to make a huge comeback this upcoming campaign, and he’s targeting January before he’s able to set foot on an NBA hardwood once again.
He’s going to find it kind of tough to thrive and be as fast as always after spending so much time on the sidelines, and he’s heading toward the end of his career, but paradoxically, that’s one of the main reasons why we’re looking forward to Tony’s comeback, as this one could might as well be the last run of one of the best point guards of our generation.
2. Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine was playing the best ball of his young career and improving in any area to shut his doubters up, proving that he was way more than just an athletic freak and a dunker until he torn his ACL and was forced to sit down and later traded to the Chicago Bulls in the Jimmy Butler move.
Those ACL injuries are always extremely tricky, but considering how young LaVine is and how well he was playing, we could definitely expect him to earn a starting spot pretty much right away on a Chicago Bulls team that’s one of the frontrunners to win the 1st overall pick for the upcoming season, and he’ll be back in late November if things continue to go his way.
1. Jabari Parker
And last but not least, we get Jabari Parker, the most NBA ready prospect in the draft when the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to go with Andrew Wiggins, and a youngster that’ll come of his second season-ending injury despite being in the league for just 3 seasons, and whose three-point shooting really regressed during the prior campaign.
Still, Parker has a lot to provide to one of the most exciting prospects in the nation, and they’re definitely going to be thrilled to have him back in February to help them with their playoff push. Let’s hope he comes back stronger than ever and we’re not witnessing yet another Brandon Roy-esq career go down the drain.