NBA: Without LeBron James: Possible Playoff Stars – Sports

Lakers star LeBron James (r) is just a spectator at this year’s NBA playoffs – Chris Paul is there with the Phoenix Suns. Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP/dpa

The most famous player is absent from the NBA playoffs: LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers are not qualified. But there are many candidates who can play a leadership role instead.

Dallas – LeBron James is not included. When the most important phase of the NBA season kicks off Saturday (7pm CEST) with the Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz duel, the most important player in the best basketball league in the world only watches, if at all, on television.

The Los Angeles Lakers failed to qualify after a disappointing season. Here are some of the candidates who could play a starring role in the playoffs in place of the 37-year-old.

Stephen Curry:

The Golden State Warriors missed the playoffs for two years, but now the team that reached the finals five times in a row between 2015 and 2019 and won the title three times during that time is back. If it’s enough for the Warriors’ seventh title, then because the best three-pointer in NBA history, who was absent due to a foot injury, is healthy again and performing at his best. Curry was optimistic that he would be able to intervene soon.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving:

As of Tuesday night, it was unclear whether the Nets were in the playoffs. The trio of superstars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, who looked unbeatable at the start of the season, barely played together – Durant was injured, Irving is unvaccinated against Corona and Harden surprisingly went to Philadelphia towards the end of the changeover period. Because of Durant and Irving’s excellent quality, the Nets are still among the contenders for the title despite seventh place in the main round.

Giannis Antetokounmpo:

The Greek proved with his first title last season that he is unstoppable on a good day and difficult to stop on a bad day. If the Bucks get a starring role again in June and in the Finals, it’s largely down to the 27-year-old prankster.

Joel Embid:

The Philadelphia 76ers bigwig often doesn’t get the attention his quality deserves, even on the many sports programs in the US. With 30.6 points, he averaged more per game than any other player in the NBA main round. For a few weeks, Embiid also had a new partner by its side in Harden. In Philadelphia, fans dream.

Luka Doncic:

Due to a calf injury, it is unclear whether the Slovenian can play Utah on Saturday. The sooner he gets there, the better the Mavericks’ chances of making it through the first round of the playoffs — something the team hasn’t done since Dirk Nowitzki’s championship in 2011.

Nikola Jokic:

The most valuable player of the last main round played another season very strong and felt the nuggets almost single-handedly led them to a playoff spot. If the Denver team beats the Warriors in the first round, it will be because of Jokic.


Paul is without a doubt one of the best players to have amassed in the NBA. His qualities and experience as an ace are excellent, but he was never the man for spectacular scenes because of his height of only 1.82 meters. If, after his final defeat to the Phoenix Suns a year ago, this attempt is enough to win his first championship, it will surely be because he has taken on and assumed a leadership role as the team’s conductor.

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