ASK IRA: Have NBA injury reports become exercises in emptiness?
Q: There is no reason to reveal injury status until teams are ready. – Paolo.
A: Well, actually there is, which is why there are injury reports in the first place, and that is the gambling angle. Recall that with the proliferation of legalized sports betting, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tried to get ahead of the curve by trying to establish an integrity fee for leagues to monitor such issues. Now, it is as if “questionable” is the NBA one-stop answer to the injury unknown. sort of like “upper-body” or “lower-body” injury in the NHL. It actually doesn’t offer much clarity, at all. So Jimmy Butler winds up being listed as questionable on Monday after hobbling off on Sunday, just as does Jalen Brunson, who did not appear to be dealing with any issue. The NBA never got its integrity fee. And we never got injury reports with clarity.
Q: If Jimmy Butler can’t go, do you think the Heat will go small by inserting Kyle Lowry into the starting lineup, or will they go with Caleb Martin as the next man up. Or do they keep the bench rotation the same and simply insert Haywood Highsmith? – Greg, Jacksonville.
A: I’m not sure Kyle Lowry, with his knee, is yet up to playing starter’s minutes. And there is something to be said about continuing the continuity with Caleb Martin off the bench. I just can’t see Erik Spoelstra attempting to open defensively with both Duncan Robinson and Max Strus, so perhaps start Haywood Highsmith and hope for a 93-91 game.
Q: If Jimmy Butler is out, who scores? – Andy.
A: The 3-point shooters. The Heat basically would be left with little to no shot creation. Yes, it could set up as a moment for Bam Adebayo to step forward. But if the Knicks don’t have to worry about Jimmy Butler or Tyler Herro or Victor Oladipo, they could just pack the paint and see if the Heat can beat them over the top.