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Most Injury Prone Players in the NBA

It’s time to process all the information we’ve gathered from the 2009-2010 NBA season. Well at least some of it. There is after all, a ton of data out there that may be deemed useful for future reference.

Back in early 2009, when I first joined GMTR, I wrote a post entitled Updating my injury prone list. It’s one of the things that is always good to do, especially in preparation for the next season. The 2009 season has been filled with many injuries.  In case you were fortunate enough to draft a team of players who were lucky enough to stay away from the dreaded injury bug, you can just ask the Portland Trail Blazers how injuries can really sting.

To assist me in filtering through all the data and stats, I composed two lists of players that I have earmarked for a draft downgrade for this season based on their history of disappointing (and sometimes down right unacceptable) number of games played. The first list is a group of players who I have decided, either through personal bias or through objective assessment, that I would not take (draft) anywhere close to where the average manager would or even the “predictable” auto draft. I therefore call it my “Don’t Bother Drafting List,” since it will be highly unlikely that I will have access to these players at the spots I have downgraded them to. Similar to Nels, as I have grown and learned throughout these years of playing pretend manager, the bias factor in this list has drastically shrunk in impact and is largely based more on historical performances as opposed to “I just don’t like the guy.”

The second list is simply my “Injury Prone List,” where I jot down guys who I should be wary of picking up this season.

This year, I asked Nels and Patrick to share who they are willing to draft with caution and who they would not bother touching with a ten foot pole. 


My Do Not Draft List

Tracy McGrady

Shaquille O’Neal

Peja Stojakovic

Tyson Chandler

Darko Milicic

New DNDL entries due to results of this season. (normally elevated from the injury prone list)

Greg Oden – I gave Oden a run this season for the first time. It was great… for 21 games. With Durant exploding this season, Oden is taking a bullet train down the Sam Bowie expressway straight to bust town. Is that enough imagery for you?

Gilbert Arenas – Not so much for the injuries, but rather the well-documented insanity. It was now FOUR seasons ago that Arenas last played more than 32 games in a season. That is a hell of a long time to have your game on the shelf. Maybe he rights the ship next season and can play in 70+ games, but he’s a long way away from being the young kid who has the ability to redefine the PG position.

Yi Jianlian – Jianlian is committed to playing for the Chinese National team this summer, which is a bad omen for his ability to stay healthy next year. He has yet to play in more than 66 games in a season.

Injury Prone List - You like these guys, but you downgrade them several notches (a full round at most) than Yahoo’s O-rank (or the average Internet ranking) due to their having a history of DNPs. You like ‘em but are cautious drafting them if ever you would.

Yao Ming probably makes a lot of people’s do not touch with a 100-foot pole lists. It was just another injured plagued year for the seemingly chronically injured Ming as he famously missed the entire 2009-10 season after fracturing his left foot during last season’s playoffs. Ming is still rehabbing the foot, but he’s walking without any assistance and is scheduled to be ready for the start of next season’s training camp. While I don’t completely trust him and his 7-6 frame, I’d be willing to risk drafting him next season as long as it came at a decent discount.

Danny Granger – High first round talent, but an unfortunate trend in games played over the last could of years. And now he’s on the wrong side of Larry Legend. Still, I’d draft him at the back end of the first round or second round next season.

Andrew Bogut – A breakout year for Bogut stats-wise, but an injury at the end of the season limited him to 69 games this season after playing in only 36 the year before that.

Andrew Bynum – The big softy is almost guaranteed to miss 20 games a season.

Andrei Kirilenko – Love the all around game from AK, but the 58 games played this year is unfortunately the norm for Kirlenko.

Marcus Camby – Tough to mention an injury prone list without bringing up Camby, who played in a nice 74 games this season. Still, It’s tough to expect more than 65 from the 36-year old in 2010-11.

Kevin Martin – Maybe I’m naive, but I still like Martin, even though he fantasy raped me this year.

Injury Prone Exit Players – Guys like Nene or maybe Wade who have had a string of poor games played seasons, but have recently shown that they are capable of staying relatively healthy.

Gerald Wallace – A career high in games played this season, but make sure not to buy high on him next season.

Nene – I’ve been skeptical about Nene ever since he had trouble staying healthy at the start of his career, but with two straight seasons of 77+ games, he’s won me over.

Lamar Odom – The former injury prone Odom has turned into an iron man over the past few seasons, racking up games played of 77, 78, and 82 since 2007.

Chris Kaman – Never thought he’d play in 76 games this year. Never think he’s going to do it again.

Grant Hill – The long-time punch line to an NBA joke involving injuries, Hill has benefited from the Suns’ training staff and has played in an amazing 163 games over the past two years. Probably the last thing anyone would have predicted 5 years ago.


As my experience with fantasy basketball has grown, my actual relevant DND has shrunk. While there are certain players I just won’t draft because I don’t really like them, I’m not going to go into those right now since my specific preferences are certainly not applicable to an array of several hundred people. The reason for the shrinkage on the “actual” list is that I’ve realized there aren’t a lot of players who just flat out aren’t worth drafting. Even my personal pariahs Kobe, Vince, Carlos, etc. have their position on the fantasy basketball spectrum. Rather, it’s a matter of picking players where they’ll actually end up in the rankings. For example, Elton Brand. He probably would have made my DND list a few seasons ago, but really, you just have to realize that the DND only applies to picking him with optimism. He can still be a good pick if you take him late enough in the draft and don’t expect him to exceed his position there.

That said, there are still a few players who are just so unpredictable that I would recommend not even trying to estimate a reasonable draft position for them.

DND: Greg Oden – not going to draft him until he proves he can actually play a few games per season

New Additions: Gilbert Arenas – too much drama in the WDC; Tayshaun Prince – With his averages this season he’s only at #110 on the Player Rater, and that doesn’t take into account that he only played 49 games… who knows what’s next?

Injury Prone: Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum – he’s not on DND because he is still worth drafting later on, Kevin Martin, Jameer Nelson, Peja Stokjakovic – after a season of 77 games, PJ is back to 61.5 games over the past 2; Danny Granger – he’s gone from 67 to 62 games player the past 2 seasons… Hard to deny the talent, but keep in mind when making your first round selection; Monta Ellis – Let’s just hope the “Future of the Golden State Warriors” curse doesn’t hit Stephen Curry; Caron Butler – don’t let this keep you from drafting him, but keep in mind that before the 74 this year, his games played included: 63, 58, and 67;

No Longer Injury Prone: Baron Davis, Gerald Wallace


Guys I’m not drafting or my DO NOT BOTHER DRAFTING LIST

Shaquille O’Neal

Greg Oden – I’m going to let 2010 slide by, and see if he’s worth looking at in 2011.

Andris Biedrins – Pass! Even if he does make some kind of comeback, I won’t have any regrets on letting him “slip through my fingers”

Tracy McGrady

Kevin Martin – This selection is more from personal bias on my part. I’ve been burned in too many leagues for too many seasons.

Gilbert Arenas – Only because there is a plethora of alternatives to choose from like guys whose names sound like Smeeven Flurry

Yi Jianlian

T.J. Ford

Ron Artest – Actually on my “Exclude List”

Michael Redd

Injury Prone Players (Draft with caution)

Chris Paul - Miami or not, LBJ gets my nod at #2, because CP3 still has to prove that he can deliver 78+ games. Slight downgrade, but relative to projected averages is debatable.

Danny Granger - Love the averages, not the DNP’s.

Gerald Wallace - One more solid season from him and I’m kicking off this list.

Brandon Roy - One more bad season from him, and…

Marcus Camby – Do I really need to explain this?

Andrew Bynum – I would gamble on him, but at a real deep downgrade.

Andrei Kirilenko – In spite of his upside factors this 2010, as far as drafting him is concerned: “My spirit is willing, but HIS flesh is weak.”

Yao Ming – Not only is he injury prone, but word is that his minutes will be limited and closely monitored this season.

Elton Brand

Jose Calderon

Peja Stojakovic

Lamar Odom

Tyson Chandler

Andrew Bogut

Guys off my injury prone list:

Dwyane Wade

Baron Davis

Nene Hilario

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