One source of optimism for the Washington Wizards is that they should be healthier this year. Last year was lost because John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene and Trevor Ariza missed significant time due to injury. That supposedly shouldn't happen again, hence, the optimism.
How much credence should we put to that theory? That's a discussion we should have in the comments. Some factors to consider:
Injuries may not be random: It's really hard to measure this systematically, but there's clearly some sort of link between training regiments and injury frequency. Several teams -- including, potentially, the Wizards -- are using the SportVU technology to measure how much their players are exerting themselves in games and practices. Flip Saunders, the new president of the Timberwolves, talked at length about the importance of evaluating training methods this summer.
It's also worth noting that, according to a 2011 Brew Hoop study, the Wizards averaged the most games lost to injury per season in a 10-year span from 2000-01 to 2010-11. This may be a trend, not a case of simple bad luck.
How injured were the Wizards compared to the rest of the league: I looked at how many games the top eight minutes-per-game players on each team lost to injury last season, taking into account midseason acquisitions (all of which are starred). Here's the top 10:
- Minnesota: (Love, Kirilenko, Pekovic, Ridnour, Rubio, Cunningham, Williams, Roy): 210 if you include Roy, 138 if you don't.
- Philadelphia: (Bynum, Holiday, Young, Turner, Hawes, Young, Richardson, Wright): 167 (82 were Bynum)
- Atlanta: (Teague, Korver, Lou, Harris, Smith, Horford, Pachulia, Stevenson): 163
- Chicago: (Rose, Deng, Noah, Boozer, Hinrich, Butler, Belinelli, Gibson): 156 (82 were Rose)
- New York: (Anthony, Felton, Smith, Chandler, Kidd, Martin*, Amar'e, Shumpert): 154
- LA Lakers: (Kobe, Dwight, Pau, World Peace, Nash, Blake, Clark, Jamison): 148
- Washington: (Wall, Beal, Webster, Nene, Ariza, Okafor, Temple*, Price): 146
- Phoenix: (Dragic, Gortat, Dudley, Scola, Frye, Tucker, Brown, Markieff Morris): 137 (82 were Frye)
- Indiana: (George, Hill, West, Stephenson, Hibbert, Green, Hansbrough, Granger): 134 (77 were Granger)
- Toronto: (DeRozan, Gay, Lowry, Bargnani, Johnson, Valanciunas, Anderson, Fields): 133
- Chicago (Hinrich, Butler, Deng, Boozer, Noah): 0
- Minnesota (Rubio, Ridnour, Kirilenko, Love, Pekovic): 0
- Philadelphia (Holiday, Turner, Richardson, Young, Hawes): 0
- New York (Felton, Prigioni, Shumpert, Anthony, Chandler): 4
- Orlando (Nelson, Afflalo, Harkless, Harris, Vucevic): 6
- LA Lakers (Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol, Howard): 7
- Washington (Wall, Beal, Webster, Nene, Okafor): 8
- Utah (Mo Williams, Foye, Marvin Williams, Millsap, Jefferson): 9
- Dallas (James, Mayo, Marion, Nowitzki, Kaman): 9
- Cleveland (Irving, Waiters, Gee, Thompson, Varejao): 10
- Boston: (Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Bass, Garnett): 10