There have been very few times LeBron James has looked human in his career and that was certainly the case during this season’s playoff run. Once Anthony Davis went down with an injury, many expected LeBron to take over the series against the Phoenix Suns. That didn’t end up being the case as the Los Angeles Lakers lost three straight games and got knocked out in the first round.
LeBron wasn’t bad but he obviously wasn’t his old self. In the past, we’ve seen the superstar put teams on his back and lead them to playoff wins. It quickly became apparent he wouldn’t be able to that for the Lakers this season and the team went down with a whimper.
LeBron wasn’t 100% healthy and that showed in his performance. Prior to getting hurt, he was playing at an MVP level and was still the best player in the world. With Kevin Durant putting together an excellent playoff run, many are ready to proclaim him as the best player in the world. However, not everybody is ready to accept that just yet. Lakers legend Magic Johnson believes that LeBron is still the best but only has one more year on top.
“I think LeBron’s got one more year to be the man, and then it’s Kevin Durant’s league right after that,” Johnson said on ESPN’s Get Up.
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Does LeBron Really Only Have 1 More Year on Top?
For the longest time, LeBron has looked immortal. Even at his current age of 36, he’s doing things that nobody has seen before. That said, age catches up with everybody eventually. He’s been the best player in the world for so long that it’s hard to fathom a scenario in which he passes the torch.
Prior to getting hurt, LeBron still looked like the best player in the world. With a full offseason to get healthy, it’s easy to see him proving once again that he’s still better than Durant. He’s also got a big chip on his shoulder heading into next season after getting knocked out early. LeBron may only have one more season on top but it’s impossible to truly know. He’s defied the odds before and he could still be on top for another two or three seasons.
Who Will Take LeBron’s Mantle?
Durant is the most obvious heir to the throne should LeBron start to decline. He was absolutely spectacular in the playoffs for the Brooklyn Nets and the team didn’t lose because of his performance. He’s the best offensive player in the NBA and borderline unstoppable when he gets hot.
However, it’s not a guarantee that he’ll be the best player in the world going forward. His injury history could hold him back from truly taking on that mantle. Other players who could threaten Durant are Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid and Steph Curry. As of right now, he’s likely better than all three but a lot can happen in a couple of years.