LeBron James remains to be among the finest players within the NBA today, but he’s inching towards the top of his profession as a consequence of his age and the wear and tear and tear of playing for 20 years. The playoff success of James is amongst his best accomplishments with 4 NBA Championships and 4 NBA Finals MVPs for 3 different franchises.
Even the years where he didn’t win all of it led to deep runs eliminating other contenders with noteworthy names. Many NBA legends from the 90s have made it known that Michael Jordan was their biggest roadblock in not winning a title. LeBron’s profession success deserves the identical treatment when looking back at each postseason run. The next ten NBA superstars were the perfect players to miss out on a hoop partially because of James.
10 Nikola Jokic
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Many fans overlook the Denver Nuggets as an actual playoff threat as of late as a consequence of injuries hurting them the past two postseasons. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. being healthy made Denver one among the 4 best teams when making the Western Conference Finals in 2020.
Nonetheless, it was still Nikola Jokic being the leader that essentially carried the team to that level. The Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Nuggets to get to the NBA Finals because of LeBron James leading the way in which. Jokic had an actual likelihood to win a hoop since no other team was that significantly better than Denver beyond the Lakers.
9 Chris Webber
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An underrated legend to feel the wrath of LeBron James was Chris Webber later in his profession. Injuries slowed Webber down after his peak days with the Sacramento Kings, but he had a likelihood to win a hoop with the Detroit Pistons when traded in 2007.
Detroit was coming off two NBA Finals appearances over the past three seasons when Webber joined. LeBron James had his first major postseason run in 2007 with an epic series against the Pistons. The Cleveland Cavaliers made the NBA Finals because of James carrying them past Detroit just a number of years after coming out of highschool.
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8 Tracy McGrady
One other interesting story of a forgotten legend feeling heartbreak vs LeBron James featured Tracy McGrady on the San Antonio Spurs. Few fans even remember this since McGrady barely got any playing time at the top of his profession.
McGrady was once the perfect scorer within the league for the Orlando Magic, but injuries ended his prime quickly. The Spurs got here one win wanting T-Mac winning a hoop throughout the infamous Ray Allen Game 6 shot. LeBron had one other outstanding series to guide Miami and blocked McGrady from winning one.
7 Al Horford
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Al Horford has suffered as a consequence of LeBron James’ playoff success on 4 occasions where he felt like he had a likelihood to win. The Atlanta Hawks were eliminated twice by LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015 and 2016, including a season where they were swept because the #1 seed.
Horford moved to the Boston Celtics and witnessed the identical faith in 2017 and 2018. Boston put up a superb fight in back-to-back conference finals, but LeBron dominated just an excessive amount of for Cleveland to proceed making the NBA Finals. Horford stays an underrated asset for helping two flawed teams even get that far.
6 Derrick Rose
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Derrick Rose is one among the few names to win an MVP Award within the Eastern Conference after ending with a greater record than LeBron James’ team. The primary yr of LeBron joining the Miami Heat featured Rose leading the Bulls to the highest record and becoming a title contender.
Chicago fell short to Miami within the Eastern Conference Finals as a consequence of James and the Heat just being higher in a must-win situation. Rose’s profession took successful as a consequence of multiple brutal injuries ending his peak. LeBron eliminated Rose a number of more times, including after they traded buzzer beater game-winners in 2015.
5 DeMar DeRozan
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Many Toronto Raptors fans still view DeMar DeRozan as the perfect player in franchise history, although they won a hoop after he was traded. One reason for that was DeRozan running into LeBron James every yr when Toronto felt they were able to take the subsequent steps.
The Cleveland Cavaliers eliminated the Raptors three years in a row mostly because of LeBron’s dominance. Toronto’s best likelihood got here in 2018 because the #1 seed facing a Cleveland squad after Kyrie Irving was traded. James dominated enough to brush the higher team and proceed one other run to the NBA Finals.
4 Paul George
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Paul George’s best success has include the Indiana Pacers as of this writing. Indiana had a few deep playoff runs within the early years of George becoming a star. The Pacers became the largest East threat to LeBron James’ Miami Heat, nevertheless it wasn’t enough.
Three postseasons in a row saw Indiana posing a threat to Miami without getting over the hump. George’s best probabilities at a hoop got here fell short within the 2013 and 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron outdueled George annually of their rivalry to achieve the NBA Finals every season in Miami.
3 Russell Westbrook
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The Oklahoma City Thunder were the team to fall to the Miami Heat when LeBron James won his first NBA Championship. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were considered the 2 superstars on the team on the time.
Unfortunately, the youth of Oklahoma City couldn’t rating the large late game wins over a team with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Durant did eventually win a few rings with the Golden State Warriors, but Westbrook stays an all-time great to never win a hoop.
2 Jimmy Butler
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The recent years of Jimmy Butler’s profession have taken him to latest heights as a superstar. Butler was a part of a few the Chicago Bulls team that LeBron James eliminated, but his best likelihood at winning an NBA Championship got here with the Miami Heat.
Pat Riley made Butler the largest acquisition since LeBron left the team to develop into the brand new face of the franchise. The infamous playoffs within the bubble featured Butler leading the Heat to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for him, James and the Los Angeles Lakers were an excessive amount of to beat.
1 James Harden
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James Harden felt the pain of facing LeBron James within the playoffs before he even became a superstar. The Oklahoma City Thunder used Harden as the highest sixth man within the league, but he was nowhere near All-Star level yet. Harden and the remainder of Oklahoma City fell wanting a hoop as a consequence of LeBron’s greatness.
Oklahoma City traded Harden not too long after to the Houston Rockets where he became a superstar and an MVP winner. Despite all his success, Harden has yet to get back to the NBA Finals with James being the rationale he couldn’t get an early ring.