A reminder that injuries in the NBA mean more than most

Although a devastating, long-term injury is a cruel blow to any athlete, from a team standpoint, it doesn’t hit harder than within NBA franchises.

News of Warriors guard Klay Thompson’s season ending achilles tear sent shockwaves around the world, delivering an outpouring of heartfelt condolences from fans and fellow players alike.

But it also sent shockwaves through betting agencies, with odds for the 2020-21 NBA championship turned on its head.

Many expected the Golden State Warriors, re-armed with Thompson and Stephen Curry, as well as the number two overall pick in the draft, James Wiseman, to re-establish themselves as a title contender.

After going up an $8 chance with many bookies, news of Thompson’s injury has ballooned the Warriors title chances out enormously. Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas now has them at $101, outlining the key role injuries can have in title aspirations.

Thompson’s an all-star calibre player, a top five shooter in NBA history. But at the same time he’s not the Warriors best player, nor is he widely considered a top 10-15 player in the league.

In other sports where teams field 15-20+ players, often those missing can be covered to a certain degree. But in a game where just five players take the court for each team at a given time, this kind of loss simply can’t be replaced.

Not only have the Warriors title chances become near on impossible, they’ll also pay a player nearly $70 million over two seasons without one minute of playing time. No one in the Warriors camp will care though, this is a favourite son, one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

This, after all, is a tale of personal tragedy, the human element should and will take precedence over anything business or financial related. Regardless of the jealousness or hate towards the Warriors franchise during their dynasty, you’d be hard pressed to come across someone who doesn’t admire and respect Klay Thompson.

And a $101 shot to win the chip?

Tell that to Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob. The acquisition of Kelly Oubre Jnr has taken the Warriors luxury tax bill to an enormous $134 million, the largest ever in NBA history. The loss of Thompson may prevent them from reaching their championship quest, but one things for sure, this franchise spares no dollars in trying to compete and win.

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