Lakers News: NBA Will Have Conference Semifinals Without LeBron James & Kevin Durant For First Time In 17 Years
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A new generation of stars is taking over in the NBA, as evidenced by the Los Angeles Lakers’ poor performance in 2021-22.

The Lakers entered the season with a roster packed with players who dominated the league over the past decade, such as Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan.

But, well past their prime, they couldn’t help Anthony Davis and LeBron James compete for the 2021-22 NBA championship, and the Lakers missed out on playoff basketball this year.

L.A. isn’t the only super team that ended the season way earlier than expected.

The Brooklyn Nets just crashed out of the 2022 NBA Playoffs after getting swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round. Interestingly, this is the first time in 17 years neither James nor Kevin Durant will play in the conference semifinals, via StatMuse:

The Nets entered the campaign with James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Durant on the roster — and as one of the main favorites for the title. But after a tumultuous first part of the season, the Nets traded the disgruntled Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a package centered around Ben Simmons.

However, Simmons would never appear for Brooklyn in 2021-22. Without him, the Nets qualified for the playoffs through the Play-In Tournament, but only for the Celtics to beat them in four games — in what is Durant’s first sweep of his career.

Ja Morant named 2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player

The NBA has named Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant the 2021-22 Most Improved Player. Morant claims the title two years after scooping the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year honor.

The Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes won the award for the best freshman in the NBA this season. Meanwhile, Celtics guard Marcus Smart earned the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year recognition.

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