LeBron James will miss the playoffs for the fourth time in 19 years

You saw it like us, the Lakers have achieved the feat of lose the train of the play-in of the tournament by chaining a seventh consecutive loss against Phoenix the last night. And whoever doesn’t play means there are no Playoffs for the legendary Los Angeles franchise, and whoever says there are no Playoffs for LA means there are no Playoffs for LeBron James. It’s rare enough to be highlighted because it’s only the fourth time it’s happened to him in two decades. Flashback to the other three.

2004 with the Cavaliers

LeBron James’ first season in the NBA was not synonymous with the playoffs. At the same time, we don’t know of many (nobody) who would have managed to take Ricky Davis, Carlos Boozer and company to the postseason at just 18 years old. Because although he immediately showed that he was the announced phenomenon by debuting a pure rookie season in 20 points-5 rebounds-5 assists, the young King arrived at a Cleveland franchise that reeked a bit of fog after a perfectly conducted tank operation campaign with only 17 wins for 65 losses. The most important thing to remember about that season is that the Cavaliers have returned to being respectable by winning almost 20 more games (final record of 35-47) thanks to the arrival of the Ohio prodigy. “I don’t think a high school kid can come into the NBA and change the fate of a team just like that.” However, the genius Darius Miles (Cavs player between 2002 and 2004) had declared before the arrival of his partner, bah the proof that yes. Even more than the progress shown in the results, eyes were suddenly on Cleveland. LeBron’s first NBA game for Sacramento was one of the most anticipated in regular league history, a pretty amazing first game in a season in which James finished Rookie of the Year ahead of Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

2005 with the Cavaliers

Decidedly, LeBron had to wait before he could savor the smell of the playoffs. And in 2005 it was disappointment that finally reigned. So certainly, on paper, the Cavaliers took another step forward by finishing with their first positive record since the 1997-98 season, Cleveland winning seven more games than the previous year to finish with 42 wins. It’s true that the King has established himself as an NBA All-Star by finishing a sophomore campaign with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists (pretty honest when you’re 20). But the gang at the King collapsed during the final weeks of the regular season as he was on his way to finding the postseason. That year, the Cavaliers were second in the East at the halfway point, before losing 19 of their last 30 games to finish in the racket spot (ninth behind the Nets as they both finished with the same record). . However, LeBron gave absolutely everything during the last installments of the season, the King closing the last game with a huge triple-double to 27 points – 14 rebounds – 14 assists on the Toronto court, where he had already dropped 56 pawns. a month before. It’s the first real disappointment in LBJ’s NBA career, but it’s all about the work that goes into it, as they say.

“What I remember from this season is how I managed to progress. The way my teammates let me lead the team. It was very special for me. The end of the season was very disappointing, but like everyone, I have to go through difficult times before going to the Playoffs. And I will be there very soon. »

The following season, LeBron landed in the Playoffs to start a streak of thirteen consecutive appearances with the jersey of Cleveland and Miami.

2019 with the Lakers

A series that ended in 2019 at the end of LeBron James’ first season at the Lakers. After having participated in eight consecutive NBA Finals, the King landed in Los Angeles to begin a new challenge in his career and put the Californian franchise back on track after several seasons full of blows. And the beginnings were far from unpleasant, the new gang in LeBron posting a record of 20 wins to 14 losses on Christmas Day 2019. Except it’s specifically on this day on the Oakland side that the Los Angeles campaign leaned, with the King he suffered a groin injury in what was the first real injury of his career. The beginning of the end. Without James, the Lakers dropped twelve games out of 18 and the King’s return wasn’t enough to reverse the trend, even if the latter had “turned on Playoffs mode” sooner than expected. On the contrary, the campaign of the Californian franchise became a circus, with the beginning of a rift between LeBron and the youngsters of the team (Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, who were in talks for a trade for Anthony Davis) and a glaring lack of automation. Add to all of that the presence of the likes of Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo or even Michael Beasley in the group, as well as a resignation from president Magic Johnson after the last regular game, and you get the new edition of los angeles cirque. Injuries, results on the scoreboard, free fall in the table, transfer rumours, players who don’t manage to evolve well together… well, does that remind you of something?

For the fourth time in his career, LeBron James will watch the Playoffs from his couch. And as in 2019, it will be very rare. The King can always take solace in seeking the NBA season’s leading scorer title, but he’d still have to feature in at least two of his team’s last three games…

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