- Kevin Pelton
If you want to know why the Portland Trail Blazers have exceeded expectations during a season that is likely to result in their first playoff trip since 2011, start in the training room. There should be room to look around, because it's been relatively empty this season. Four of the Blazers' five starters have played in all 75 games this season, and as a team, Portland ranks in the league's top five in fewest games, minutes and WARP lost to injury.
The Blazers aren't alone in parlaying good health into exceeding expectations. The Toronto Raptors have been healthier than any other team in the league en route to a near certain Atlantic Division championship, while the Indiana Pacers have stayed healthy as part of their challenge for the top seed in the Eastern Conference postseason.
Looking beyond those examples, leaguewide numbers confirm the importance of health to making or breaking a season in the NBA.
Kevin Pelton takes a look at how health has had different impacts on the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trail Blazers.