No one wants to see an athlete get injured (unless you’re a hateful, hateful person).
However, in the crumbling defeat and pain you feel for an athlete suffering a severe injury, there can be unforeseen benefits for that player’s team.
Let’s take Brooklyn Nets’ G/F Caris LeVert for example.
LeVert, 24, was in the midst of a breakout season with the Nets, averaging 18.4 points per game to go along with 3.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.
More importantly, the Nets are currently 6-8, which puts them at the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the season is only 14 games old, but if it ended today, the Nets would be in the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
Alas, on Monday night, LeVert landed on his right leg and crumpled to the ground after suffering a severe injury. He dislocated his foot, and you can assume that LeVert will miss a significant portion of the season, if not the rest entirely.
While on the surface, this seems like it will hurt the Nets, when in actuality, it will improve the team drastically in the long run.
At 6-8, there are currently 11 teams with worse records than the Nets, and one team with the same record. That could potentially put Brooklyn at the #13 spot in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Now, without LeVert, the Nets are essentially back to where they were last season during a 25-win campaign: trying to develop young players with no real shot at winning.
And that’s what the Nets should do: LOSE.
This team has its first round draft pick for the first time in seasons, and may even add a second if Denver’s pick falls out of the range of the protections its assigned.
With a high first round pick (which the Nets could be expected to obtain with little to no firepower left on the squad) they could score one of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft, which is expected to include generational talents like Duke Fs Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish:
Outside of that trio, there are a number of intriguing talents, and the NCAA season has just started, meaning even more will emerge.
If the Nets pick is just a bit farther back in the lottery, Oregon C Bol Bol could fall into their laps, and if he can stay healthy, he too may emerge as a generational talent:
Outside of the young stars the Nets’ could stand to gain by getting higher draft picks, the team also has a large amount of cap space to bring in veterans to pair with the young stars.
For example, a lineup with a high first round pick and a few veteran additions could look like this for Brooklyn next season:
G – D’Angelo Russell
G – Caris LeVert
F- R.J. Barrett (Duke)
F – Paul Millsap (DEN – set to be free agent)
Sixth Man: G Darren Collison (IND – set to be free agent)
That looks like a team that would be on the rise, and have a future, instead of floundering in mediocrity in the Eastern Conference.
Ultimately, my point is, despite LeVert’s injury, the future may be looking brighter for the Nets than if he had played the entire season.