We can all agree that missing the playoffs is not an everyday thing for a superstar in the NBA, and for LeBron it will already be the second time in his career he’ll be watching the games on his couch.
Though it would’ve been a huge surprise to everyone if the unexperienced Lakers had qualified themselves for the playoffs, the same people still hoped LeBron James would somehow still pull it off. But, unfortunately he didn’t. That means his eight year Finals streak has come to an end.
Of course, he isn’t the only good player to ever miss the playoffs.
Barkley played for three powerhouses during his career, but he failed to win a championship with either of those teams. On the opposite, though he was one of the best players in the league, he did manage to miss the post-season three times.
1988 was the first post-Julius Erving season, while Moses Malone was traded to the Washington Bullets the year before, and Barkley still needed to get a bit used to his new role as a team leader and franchise player of the 76ers. Furthermore, Barkley had the most productive season of his career, with the highest points average and reached somewhat of a celebrity status, but still couldn’t get his team higher than the 12th spot in their Conference.
Olajuwon’s numbers were quite strong for the Houston Rockets, but he wasn’t able to get them out of the slump they were in, so the Rockets missed the 1992 playoffs. Though that was the first year they missed the post-season, the Rockets had been underperforming for a few years, as they gathered a 1-5 playoff series record in those years.
Olajuwon actually asked for a trade that year, as he didn’t agree with the management and the quality of his teammates, but the Rockets did not comply, and Olajuwon remained on the team.
Shaquille O’Neal is a three-time Finals MVP, but even Finals MVP’s can miss the entire playoffs. His Phoenix Suns career started just fine, even making the playoffs in 2008, before being beaten by the Spurs in the first round. The 2009 season proved to be too difficult for the team. Shaq did earn All-Star honors, as well as becoming the All-Star MVP, but he eventually missed the playoffs for the second time in his career. The first time around was in his rookie year, 1993.
The years from 2005 to 2007 could’ve been three strong playoff years for Garnett, as he was in his prime with the Minnesota Timberwolves. But, as the Timberwolves failed to create a strong team around him, they didn’t manage to reach the post-season. Garnett did become the rebounding champion, and an All-Star those three years.
Though the Timberwolves originally wanted to do everything to keep Garnett on the team, they eventually traded him to the Boston Celtics in the 2007 off season, after they failed to reach the playoffs for the third time in a row. Garnett won the championship the following year with the Celtics.
Chamberlain played 14 season in the NBA, and only missed the playoffs once, in 1963. That miss can actually be explained quite easily, as the Warriors got a new owner, and relocated to San Francisco from Philadelphia. A big part of the team fell apart, as some didn’t want to leave their home and other job in Philly. Therefore, Chamberlain no longer had any back-up, and even though his stat line was off the chart, the Warriors lost more than 50% of their games.
Not many players can call themselves a five-time NBA Champion, but Kobe can. Opposite that impressive fact, he has also missed the entire playoffs four times in his career. Three of those were the last three years of his career, where he barely played, so those years don’t count as much.
In 2005, the other season he missed the playoffs, the Lakers should’ve made it to the post-season. Kobe was still in his prime, averaged 40 minutes, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 28 points per game, but had traded Shaquille O’Neal in the off season, and the team just wasn’t good enough to compete that year. They ended with a .415 record on the 12th spot of the Conference that year.