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Playoffs are fine without King James

Playoffs are fine without King James
May 09
01:10 2019

The NBA playoffs are in full swing and LeBron James is nowhere in sight. This is the first year since 2005 that James has not been in the playoffs and I am surprised to say that I don’t miss him. This year’s playoffs have been one of the more interesting in recent memory.

We all thought coming into the year that the Golden State Warriors were going to win the NBA Championship. That still may be the case, but the Warriors have shown some vulnerability, which has made the playoffs more palatable to watch.

Along with Golden State, the other storyline I was interested to see play out was how LeBron was going to fit with his new Laker teammates. James is still considered the best player in the world, so even though the Western Conference is stacked, I still anticipated that the Lakers would at least make the playoffs. I was wrong on that prediction.

There were a few factors that played a role in contributing to the Lakers downfall, like injuries, team chemistry and, in my opinion, too much reliance on James. I just thought they would have enough talent to at least make it to the 7 or 8 seed in the west, even with all the issues they had to deal with.

I think we have grown so accustomed to seeing James carry his team to the promised land that it was kind of a foregone conclusion we would see the Lakers in the post season. When the Lakers were statistically eliminated from the playoffs, I was not sure how interested I would be to watch.

First off, I didn’t think any of the teams in the Eastern Conference would be strong enough to compete with the top team in the west, who I assumed would be Golden State, but I am not so sure about that now.

At the time this article was written, the Milwaukee Bucks lead the Boston Celtics 2-1 in their series and Philly is tied with Toronto 2-2 in their respective series. I didn’t think the Bucks or the 76ers had enough team playoff experience to compete, but they have made the second round of the playoffs very entertaining.

I was looking to see what team was going to step up in the absence of James in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  I am not sure who will prevail in the Philly versus Toronto series, but I don’t think that really matters, honestly. The way Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing, the Bucks are my pick to make it out of the east. I think even if James would have stayed in Cleveland, they would not have beaten the Bucks in a 7-game series.

Out west, the Portland vs. Denver series has been fantastic as well. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum for Portland versus Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murry has kept my eyes glued to the television screen. Their four-overtime game three was probably the best playoff game I can remember in recent memory.

Houston looks to have finally found their way against the Warriors. I don’t think their recipe for winning can overcome the firepower the Warriors bring every night, but it should at least yield a good series. 

If the second round of the playoffs is this entertaining, I can’t wait to see what the conference and NBA Finals have to offer. Maybe I didn’t give enough credit to the rising stars in the league to think they could carry the load without James.

I think the NBA is in good hands going forward.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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