LeBron James is about to do something for the first time in his career.
Over the course of his hall of fame career, LeBron James has pretty much done it all. He’s won championships, league MVPs, made both All-Star and All-NBA teams, and has participated and won Olympic Gold.
However, there’s one thing that LeBron hadn’t done in his career yet that he’s on the precipice of doing with the Los Angeles Lakers. And that’s losing in the first round of the playoffs.
Through the first 18 years of his career, LeBron has made the postseason 15 times. In every one of those 15 instances, he’s made it at least to the conference semifinals every time. That’s currently in danger as LeBron and the Lakers face a 3-2 series deficit against the Phoenix Suns.
More from Sir Charles In Charge
- Dillon Brooks proved his value to Houston Rockets in the 2023 FIBA World Cup
- NBA Trade Rumors: 1 Player from each team most likely to be traded in-season
- Golden State Warriors: Buy or sell Chris Paul being a day 1 starter
- Does Christian Wood make the Los Angeles Lakers a legit contender?
- NBA Power Rankings: Tiering all 30 projected starting point guards for 2023-24
Can LeBron James avoid a first-round elimination?
For LeBron to avoid being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career, he’ll have to win two straight games against the Suns, including a Game 7 on the road, and possibly do it without Anthony Davis.
Davis missed pivotal Game 5 with a hamstring injury and there’s no guarantee that he’s going to be back for Game 6 or a hypothetical Game 7. And when Davis has not been on the floor in this series, the Suns have overwhelmingly been the better team.
In Game 1, when Davis looked like a shell of himself (13 points and seven rebounds) the Lakers lost. In Game 2 (34 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists) and Game 3 (34 points and 11 rebounds), Davis was the best player on the floor and the Lakers won both of those games.
In Game 4, Davis finished with just six points and four rebounds in 19 minutes before his injury. The Lakers lost that game and Game 5, in which Davis sat out.
When Davis is playing at a high level, the Lakers are a championship contender. When Davis is not playing at a high level, or not playing at all, the Lakers are average, if that.
LeBron hasn’t been able to take his game to the absurd level that he has in the past during the postseason, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s likely not even 100 percent after rushing back to the lineup after suffering a bad ankle injury in March.
An 80 percent (or less) LeBron and an absent Davis, predictably, isn’t going to push the Lakers past a talented up-and-coming Suns team. Especially not one that has the relentless Chris Paul leading the way.
LeBron and the Lakers certainly have their work cut out for them. Even if Davis is back for Game 6, there’s no telling how healthy he’ll be and how much of an impact that he’ll have.
LeBron is going to go down as arguably the best player to ever do it. The fact that he hadn’t been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs throughout his 15-year playoff career is actually quite astounding. The fact that it likely is about to happen for the first time in his career with one of his better playoff teams is somewhat disappointing.