It is undeniable that LeBron James has one of the most impressive playoff resumes of all time. You could write an entire book on LeBron’s playoff career, and it would be more fruitful than most players’ entire careers. From his four NBA titles to his eighth consecutive Finals appearances, LeBron has seen and done it all. In 2021, LeBron and the Lakers saw an early exit from the playoffs.
This has not happened very much in LeBron’s career so it always begs the question of what does an early exit to do his legacy? The Lakers loaded up on free agents this offseason including the addition of Russell Westbrook. However, if LeBron and the Lakers have another early exit, where does this put LeBron’s legacy? Does this end the GOAT comparisons? Does it hurt his legacy? Let’s check it out.
If you think another early playoff exit would tarnish LeBron’s legacy, think again. Would that move him further away from chasing MJ? Absolutely, but this should not steer people away from his resume overall. LeBron is the all-time playoff leader in seven different categories. LeBron is the ideal playoff performer, but having only four titles in fifteen playoff appearances looks bad against his impressive records. However, another early exit should not tarnish his legacy pretty much at all.
The Lakers are geared up for a deep playoff run and LeBron will be a clear favorite to win another title. 2020-21 was an injury-riddled year for LA, so look for 2021-22 to be much better. LeBron is arguably one of the best if not the best playoff performer of all time. Titles or no titles you cannot deny that LeBron is better in the playoffs than most of the playoff giants in league history.
Where Would An Early Exit Place LeBron All-Time?
I think another early exit would put LeBron may be below some of the playoff juggernauts that have won more than four titles. The reality is that LeBron is chasing MJ and MJ only at this point. However, that does not mean he cannot chase other players as well. As I said before, LeBron has several records in the playoffs, but he is still chasing other records. He is second all-time in NINE categories, which is insane. When you consider how many playoff games he has played, he should be that close to all of those records.
All-time, I would say LeBron has solidified himself into the top five playoff performers. The only way he moves up from now on is by winning more titles. The records are great but now the pressure to win titles is even bigger due to his age beginning to cause concern. If LeBron can silence the critics with a fifth title, this conversation of where he sits all-time will get much more interesting. If he exits early, I think he maybe moves out of top-five and down to sixth or seventh. LeBron has done too much in the playoffs to go below the top ten.
I am going to keep this short and sweet. LeBron is a top-five playoff performer in league history no doubt about it. An early exit would move him around the all-time list but not much. Do not forget how much LeBron changes a game in the playoffs, otherwise, you will forget his legacy overall. Another title would be the game-changer, but another early exit would not help him. Watch closely this season to see if LeBron can lead the veteran-heavy Lakers back to the promised land.
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