Back to the NBA Journey, Week Twenty-One: Status Ailments

The 2018-19 NBA season is in its home stretch. The Association still believes that its destination will be another championship for the Golden State Warriors. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the season as a whole. Last year was wonderful, so let's return to the path. Let's go back to the Journey.

Song of the Week: Solange - "Weary"

There are many ways video games make themselves more challenging. I've highlighted in previous posts the instance when games overall just increase in difficulty. Stronger enemies, limited resources and more complex puzzles are the typical ways that games become harder. However, in games where a character's conditions can be affected, those games tend to have a higher likelihood of changes in those conditions. Those are widely known as status ailments.

Healing is a prominent mechanic in games. Whether the game requires the player to heal with potions and first aid spray like in Kingdom Hearts and Resident Evil or the game has regenerative health like Call of Duty and Battlefield, game developers understand that if damage can be taken, damage will probably be taken and it's imperative to give players a chance to rejuvenate their character(s). The opposite side of this coin holds the fact that games also find ways to limit a player's ability without fully depleting health as a way to amplify the need for strategy or to purchase healing items.

The most common status ailment is poison. Over time, a character's health drains — even if a basic potion restores full health — until an antidote is administered. This allows characters to fight or advance in the game, but players must be aware of the risk of doing so: that health can run out. This is similar to NBA players playing in games while sick with the flu or other viruses. Yes, they can still play and are not injured, but their health and stamina drain faster than normal, and they may not be available for their normal amount of minutes until cured of the "poison" affecting them.

The Raptors have rested Kawhi Leonard on some nights to preserve his health. (Tom Real/MySanAntonio)

Some other, more interesting status ailments include blindness (decreasing the chance of attacks hitting), silence (the inability to use magic attacks) and slowness (hindering how quickly a character can attack). None of these ailments keep characters from contributing. They're just hindered in the ways they can contribute.

In sports, injuries happen. The NBA is not exempt from that. Many players have missed significant time due to physical injury — including the game's elite. But along with strains, sprains, fractures and the like come those other hindrances that are lesser in severity but still keep players from being their best. Some teams have their players resting and not playing on back-to-back nights such as how the Toronto Raptors handle Kawhi Leonard. Others just place restrictions on players' minutes, like the Los Angeles Lakers have done with LeBron James now that playoff contention is all but unattainable. Smaller setbacks creep up over the course of the NBA Journey, and those must be addressed accordingly in order to preserve and restore health as we get to the postseason and beyond.

More March Blurbs

  • Peace to Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, who discovered he had blood clots in his arm that could impact his career. This is similar to the situation Chris Bosh has a few years ago that caused him to retire early. May Ingram have a speedy recovery and continue his growth as a player.
  • The Miami Heat's Derrick Jones Jr is one of the best athletes and highest jumpers in the NBA. Last Monday, he cemented that fact by catching an amazing alley oop from teammate Bam Adebayo. Two things stick out to me with this play. One, the best alley oop finishes come from terrible lob passes. Two, Jones didn't touch the rim. He literally threw the ball down into the basket. So I ask: are dunks where the player doesn't touch the rim actual dunks? Leave your answer in the comments.
  • This week's Hooper Appreciation Blurb goes to Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis. Coming off the bench for most of the season, the son of Arvydas Sabonis is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds a game for the fourth-seeded Pacers, who have managed not to fall much in the Eastern Conference standings after losing Victor Oladipo. Sabonis is very, very skilled with post footwork, passing and touch out to outside the paint. If he's given more opportunities and minutes, he'll become a player most will know, just like his father.

Twenty-one weeks in and the Journey continues. Happy NBA, folks.

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