Toronto Raptors: How does the league’s recent injuries impact Toronto?

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Kevin Love
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Kevin Love /

In the past 24 hours, two of the Toronto Raptors’ Eastern Conference rivals sustained major injuries. How does this impact the Raptors moving forward?

Wednesday morning, Candace Barker reported, Washington Wizards’ point guard, John Wall is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks after undergoing an arthroscopic debridement procedure. Less than 12 hours later, in a game against the Detroit Pistons, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love broke his hand and will also miss six-to-eight weeks.

Both losses come at difficult times for their respective teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in public disarray and losers of seven of their last ten. The Washington Wizards have not been great themselves, 3-4 over their last seven and just 2.5 games ahead of the eight seed.

What does this mean for both teams moving forward? How will this impact the Raptors season?

John Wall’s injury

For the Wizards, a dooms-day scenario where the team misses the playoffs now becomes a possibility. Optimistically, Wall will miss around 20 games. If the Wizards, who are currently 28-22, fall to .500 or below during that stretch, they have a real opportunity of being on the outside looking-in when Wall returns.  If Wall comes back rusty with only 12 games remaining, there is a real chance of the Wizards will be lottery bound.

While a disaster scenario is possible, the more likely outcome is the Wizards sliding to a bottom seed in the East. Unfortunately for the Raptors, that provides a possibility for a Wizards-Raptors first-round.

The Raptors are better than the Wizards. Particularly with home-court advantage, Toronto would be favored in any matchup between the two, barring a Raptors injury.  But you do not want to face off against a back-court of John Wall and Bradley Beal  in the first round if you don’t have too.

Wall’s injury is bad news for the Wizards, it might also end up hurting the Raptors.

Kevin Love’s Injury

The Cavaliers situation is not quite as dire. Love is very important to the Cavaliers offensively, but he doesn’t have quite the overall impact of Wall. There is also approximately a 0.00% to 0.01% chance that a Lebron James team is going to miss the playoffs.

The loss could drop the Cavaliers to the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. In an ideal world, the Raptors would like to gain the one-seed and be on the opposite side of the bracket from both Cleveland and Boston. If Cleveland drops to the six-seed or worse this becomes a real possibility.

The larger impact on Cleveland will be the stress puts on Lebron. The Cavaliers already ask James to carry a heavy burden offensively, with their second-leading scorer missing considerable time that burden becomes even heavier.

This also will have a big impact on the Cavaliers chemistry. Isaiah Thomas has played 10 games with Love. With approximately only 10 or so remaining when Love returns, both players will be adjusting to each other on the fly, during the playoffs. Perhaps the Raptors are better off facing the Cavaliers in the first-round this season, before they start to gel.

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It’s unfortunate to see what happened to both Wall and Love. No one wants to see injuries, and the NBA is a better place when both players on the court. Sadly, injuries happen and the Raptors must plan accordingly.