This is just a little look at some teams that have the most riding on staying healthy. This is a bit subjective because, obviously, any team could get destroyed by injuries. For instance, though, even though an injury to LeBron would be devastating to the Cavs, he has been healthy his whole career so it isn't a worry. These are in no particular order.
The Clippers were missing Blake Griffin for a huge amount of last season and still did just fine, and then in the playoffs, Chris Paul got hurt (yet again), and the Blake got hurt again and they lost to the Blazers in the first round. This Clippers team is really good, it has been for several years now, but everyone knows that the clock is ticking on this group.
At a certain point, it doesn't matter if they are injured or not, if they can't win they can't win. Additional pressure comes from the fact that the Clippers now look to be (perhaps) the best team to challenge the Warriors on the West, given that they have a pair of bigs is Jordan and Griffin who are good enough to potentially destroy the Warriors lack of size inside, not to mention that Chris Paul is one of the only point guards in basketball who can go toe to toe with Steph Curry.
If the Clippers are healthy this year, they will have a chance for glory against the Warriors, if they are plagued by injuries yet again, it could be the end of this iteration of the team.
New York Knicks
This one is fairly obvious, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose are the starting center and point guard for the Knicks. They both have been hurt a lot over the last few years, and Carmelo has not exactly been an iron man of late either. Throw in that Porzingis seemed totally gassed by the end of last year as well, and all 4 of the Knicks top players have some questions about whether or not they can play the whole season in top form. They do not have as much pressure as the Clippers do because even if healthy this Knicks team does not figure to be that good.
HOWEVA, if they could manage to stay healthy, this team could be an outside contender in the East, if some other teams have injury (or some other unforeseen trouble) problems the Knicks could suddenly find themselves in a battle for the Eastern Conference. On the flip side, this team could have so many injuries that they are buried in the lottery again.
Chris Bosh, Chris Bosh, Chris Bosh. No one is totally sure what is going to happen with Bosh this year, he may try and play, he may never play again. With him, the Heat have a chance to be a decent team. Without him, the Heat look fairly certain to be headed for the lottery without many picks. This is not a complicated explanation, but it is a huge swing.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pellies were supposed to be the breakout team in the NBA last year, instead they just sort of broke. As in all of their bones. Anthony Davis missing games hurts the most, but pretty much every other contributor on the team missed a lot of games and/or was not playing at 100% when they were on the floor. And they are not looking to be off to a great start this year, given that Jrue Holliday will likely miss the start of the season with a personal matter, and Tyreke Evans going to miss at least the start of the season following offseason surgery.
If they can get everyone on the floor (most importantly Anthony Davis) this team should make the playoffs and can play with most any team. But they could also win like 30 games again too, which would be hugely disappointing for a team that thought they were ready to ascend before last year.
The Grizz were destroyed by injuries last year even though they still made the playoffs, while literally setting a record for most players used in an NBA season. They did not make themselves any less injury prone by making their big addition of the offseason Chandler Parsons, who has had knee issues the past two years.
If they are healthy, the Grizzlies look like they will be right back in the mix of the West since Parsons is (in theory) exactly the sort of swiss army knife player that they have desperately needed on the wing since they traded away Rudy Gay. Don't forget that this is a group of guys that has had some epic playoff series over the past few years, if they stay healthy they will be able to compete in a 7 game series with anyone, even the Warriors. I'm just hoping that injuries don't keep the grindhouse from rising again.
What do you think? What other teams should be here? Which of these teams will be healthy and which ones won't?