For the first time in eight years, the NBA Finals will take place without LeBron James in them.
For the first time since 2005 — when “Hollaback Girl” was the hit stuck in everybody’s head — LeBron will not be in the playoffs.
Stephen Curry, whose Warriors have faced off against LeBron in the Finals the past four seasons, it does seem a little strange. But at shootaround before the Warriors took on the Lakers Thursday (without LeBron, who has been sidelined for the rest of the season), Curry said he expects LeBron to be back at the top next season. From Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
“It’s different, but what is it? [Eight] straight Finals he went to?” Curry said at the Warriors’ morning shootaround… “I’m sure it’s a different experience for him, for better or worse…
“Obviously the rest of the league continues to go, a lot of talent, a lot of great storylines, people chasing championships,” Curry said. “But he’s had an amazing run. Pretty sure he’ll be able to reset for next year and regroup. It’s just different [with James not in the postseason].”
Do not doubt that LeBron James will be back at peak form next season. He was never right after coming back from that groin injury, but it will heal this summer, have the longest off-season rest he has had in more than a decade (he is not playing in the World Cup), and come back the full LeBron.
Whether he has a good enough team around him in the West next season to make noise is the real question.