The 2021-2022 season started out promising but ended with a thud. Rob Parker listed down why this could be one of the worst ever but hoped the play-in and the playoffs could make up for it.
Sports anchor and columnist Rob Parker lambasted how the season went down the drain. We'll break down his list and create two categories: the avoidable and the unavoidable.
For the avoidable, we have the situation of Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and James Harden. These three altered the map of the regular season, and their actions had far-reaching consequences.
Kyrie Irving chose to stand by his decision of not getting the vaccine. As a result, he sat out in games where he was prohibited from playing due to New York City mandates. Irving got to play after 35 games. What would have happened if he chose to take the jab and played at the start of the season? The Brooklyn Nets, for sure, would have a better place in the conference standings. It also robbed the fans to see the true strength of the Nets lineup featuring him, Kevin Durant, and James Harden.
When Ben Simmons decided to sit out, citing mental health, it affected his team and other teams in the league. The validity of his claims was also brought to light. Mental health is a serious topic that should be taken lightly or used as an excuse to skip games or force a trade. Now that Simmons' wish to be traded was granted, his health condition surfaced, forcing him out of the play-in tournament. In a way, the Philadelphia 76ers dodged a bullet there, and in his absence, Joel Embiid reached his peak with MVP numbers this season.
The James Harden situation is linked to Irving and Simmons. The Beard grew tired of Kyrie's part-time basis and wanted out of the Nets. He was then shipped to the 76ers for Simmons. While it ended well for all parties involved, the Brooklyn Nets' lineup would go down as one of the biggest what-could-have-been in the NBA. The trio of KD, Kyrie, and Harden were primed to win a few championships, but sadly, we won't get to see that happening.
Injuries also dampened the season. A lot of players missed games due to Covid protocols and season-ending injuries. Other seasons were also affected by star players missing out on games, but this time, it's different. Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Jamal Murray, Chris Paul, Steph Curry, and Zion Williamson missed games and changed their team's playoff chances.
The L.A. Lakers were also a huge disappointment this season. For Rob Parker, it was just a mix of injuries and a bad fit for their summer signings.
"Russell Westbrook, the Lakers' big offseason addition, wound up being what most NBA writers and analysts thought: not a good fit. In fact, he was a terrible fit with James. The Lakers were so terrible that it wasn't even fun for anti-L.A. people to watch. Somehow, with four Top 75 players on their roster, the Lakers failed to win back-to-back games since Jan. 7."
The situation could have been avoided had the Lakers signed other players such as Buddy Hield or DeMar DeRozan when they were still available. But regretting the already made decisions now is pointless. Fans hoped that the Lakers and Nets would meet in the NBA finals. Instead, they are left with only the Nets making the postseason without James Harden.
Even if everyone plays next season, it would be different. This season had the chance to become one of the greatest and most entertaining ever, but it ended in regrets and disappointments.