The Start Of A New Era? – NBA Playoffs


2022 NBA Playoffs Photo Courtesy of NBA.

Kalani Buggs, Sports Editor

History has been made. For the first time in 17 years, Kevin Durant or Lebron James won’t be in the second round of the playoffs. In the article “LEBRON JAMES AND KEVIN DURANT FAIL TO REACH NBA PLAYOFFS’ SECOND ROUND FOR FIRST TIME IN 17 YEARS”, the writer states “The shocking statistic was circulated by ESPN’s official SportsCenter Twitter account after the Boston Celtics swept Durant’s Brooklyn Nets 4-0 for a first-round elimination. James and the Lakers failed to make the playoffs altogether”. Wow. This is an incredible stat due to the fact that these two guys are the main faces of the NBA along with a few others. But this is also incredible because we are really starting to see the newer generation transitioning into becoming the face of the league while also surpassing other players as better. 

For example, we see Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant, Devin Booker, and others who are already top players in the league, and guess what? They’re all under 25 years old or 25 years old exact! Let that sink in. University of Maryland student and sports fan Kamari Buggs believes that “The younger stars are definitely making their mark on the game and I think that we’re really seeing the start of a new era. Overall I believe that one of the younger stars will lead their team to a championship this year”.These players are about to enter their prime and they’re all already a part of the league’s best and some of them are even arguably the best at their position. But is it too early to say a new era is starting? Or that these players have taken the throne from players like Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo or even Kyrie Irving? You can make this argument due to the fact that the Nets couldn’t build their chemistry because of Kyrie being gone for more than half of the season for not taking his vaccine. In the article “Nets: Kyrie Irving’s Choice Not To Get Vaccinated Means He Can’t Play Until He Does”, the writer states that “He just won’t play for the Brooklyn Nets until he is”. Kyrie did just that. He didn’t play for more than half the season and towards the end was only able to play away games because he decided to stand his ground of not taking the vaccine.

 Some people believe that him not playing caused chemistry issues with the team, which is the reason why they got swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics. I don’t think this is true at all. I say this because Irving and Durant have been playing together for 3 years, even though the first year they teamed up, they were both injured. But they played together last season and this season, and I believe that them not even getting to the conference finals for both years show that the younger players are starting to make their mark on the game, while also inferring that what Durant and Irving have been doing, isn’t enough anymore. They need to step up and figure it out. 

In the Lakers case, they were just old this year and they couldn’t keep up with the younger teams. And with Lebron and Anthony Davis being injured, and the acquisition of Russell Westbrook not working, they just didn’t have a chance. So in the Lakers case, they weren’t healthy all season with their two superstars being injured for most of the season and them being the oldest team in the NBA caused strains on their success. But with them, we at least saw that when they are healthy, they can be successful, due to them recently winning the NBA championship in 2020 with Lebron and Davis leading the pack. 

Regardless of the situations between both teams and the NBA playoffs not being headlined with the known faces of the league, Lebron, Durant, Irving, Westbrook, and Davis are only getting older, while these other young stars are becoming dominant. Keep an eye out on these new young stars, because this could be the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one.