If LeBron Misses the Playoffs, He'll Be a part of a Small Checklist of NBA Superstars That Missed the Playoffs in Their Prime

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LeBron’s Lakers missed a chance to achieve floor within the Western Convention playoff race with one other loss Monday to an inferior staff, falling to the Grizzlies. Fortunately for the Lakers, the Spurs misplaced (once more) and the Kings misplaced, however the Clippers gained, so the Lakers will fall 4 video games again of the seventh seed, and three video games again of the eighth seed.

The Lakers have 22 video games left.

The thought of LeBron lacking the playoffs was unfathomable earlier than the season started. He’d been to the Finals eight straight years – 4 in Miami, 4 in Cleveland – a modern-day document. In reality, LeBron’s Lakers have been in nice place to be a menace within the West as not too long ago as Christmas night time, after they crushed the Warriors in Oracle and have been 4th within the West.

However the win got here at a price – LeBron suffered a groin harm and proceeded to overlook 18 video games. LA went 6-12. They now discover themselves probably lacking the playoffs, which might be a large blow to postseason TV scores and with out query it could dent his legacy a bit.

I attempted to compile an inventory of superstars within the trendy period who missed the playoffs of their prime. It’s a really quick checklist. Right here is the checklist of stars who by no means missed the playoffs of their prime*:

Michael Jordan (sorry, the Wizards at age 38 wasn’t his prime)
Magic Johnson (nope, his 32-game stint at age 36 doesn’t rely)
Larry Chook
Julius Erving
Tim Duncan
Shaq
Karl Malone
John Stockton
Clyde Drexler
Kevin Durant (injured in 2015 on the age 26, performed simply 27 video games, and the Thunder missed the postseason)
Stephen Curry (injured in 2012 on the age of 23, missed 40 video games – together with the final 28 attributable to surgical procedure and the Warriors missed the playoffs)

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I might solely discover 5 superstars who missed the playoffs of their prime, and two of them concerned critical accidents:

Kobe Bryant: At age 26 in 2005, Bryant was coming off the Colorado scandal and the courtroom case, and coping with fallout of Phil Jackson’s ebook ripping him. Kobe led the NBA in scoring (27.6 ppg in 66 video games) however the Lakers missed the playoffs. However this wasn’t all concerning the supporting solid. He did have Lamar Odom and Caron Butler. LA was the worst defensive staff within the NBA. It took Kobe 2.5 years to get Pau Gasol, who helped Kobe win two extra titles.

Hakeem Olajuwon: At age 29, Olajuwon missed the playoffs. It was a tumultuous 12 months for the Rockets, as they fired their coach, however Olajuwon was terrific. He performed 70 video games and averaged 21 factors and 12 rebounds. Two years later, he gained a title.

Charles Barkley: At age 24 – some will quibble if this was actually his prime, however it actually was, as he averaged 28-11 in 80 video games and was named first staff All-NBA – missed playoffs. It was his 4th season within the NBA.

Dwyane Wade: At age 26, he had a nagging knee harm and missed the ultimate 21 video games of the season and received surgical procedure. The Warmth missed the playoffs.

Dirk Nowitzki: At age 34, he missed the primary 27 video games of the 2013 season (32% of the season) and the Mavs missed the playoffs.

LeBron James has earned all of the accolades he’s acquired for the final eight years. One among his most spectacular information is that he’s by no means misplaced within the first spherical of the playoffs. Hell, he’s been to the playoffs for 13 straight seasons! However he will definitely be dinged if he’s unable to get the Lakers to the playoffs this season, or if he will get there and goes down within the first spherical.

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LeBron’s averaging 26-Eight-7 which is at or above what he’s averaged for his profession. So he’s not having a down 12 months – exterior of the longest stretch of missed video games in his profession. Identical together with his capturing numbers (51/35/67, although his free throw share is at present a career-low). He’s nonetheless in his prime.

He’s received 22 video games to get this group to the playoffs.

* We will debate “prime” for hours and never get a definitive reply. For the needs of this piece, it’s on a case-by-case foundation.


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