The LeBron James guide to the 2022 NBA Playoffs

Published April 21, 2022, 5:20 PMPolo Bustamante

Here are three first-round series that famous NBA “fan” LeBron James is probably watching.

The Nets and the Warriors are most likely two teams LeBron James is keeping tabs on in these playoffs.

LeBron James is usually an active participant in the NBA playoffs. In his 19-year career, he’s only missed the postseason four times. It just so happens that this season is one of those four times. So, for the next few months, he’s just like all of us: a fan enjoying the NBA playoffs.

It’s easy to imagine LeBron kicking back, pouring himself a glass of expensive wine, and switching his enormous TV on to watch some playoff action. So let me step into his ultra-luxurious house slippers and try to figure out which first-round series he’s probably tuning in to.

Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets

Even though they’re not teammates anymore, LeBron is still rooting for Kyrie Irving. Just like Curry, Irving is an exhilarating basketball player. The physics in Irving’s flat earth is different when he’s locked in. The things he does with the basketball to be able to free himself of multiple defenders are mind-boggling. That’s what it felt like in Game 1 when he was cooking the vaunted Celtics defense.

Irving is a central character in this series because there’s no love lost between him and the city of Boston. The falling out between the superstar and the city was dragged out in public. The fans let him have it whenever he comes back, and Irving doesn’t hesitate to return the favor.

Oh, and have I mentioned? The basketball being played has been so good. LeBron was probably on the edge of his seat watching the final minutes of Game 1. Irving and the Celtics exchanged huge baskets. That exchange was capped off with Tatum's game-winner that will be added to the long list of iconic Celtics shots. Game 2 was a defensive masterpiece by Boston to come back from 17 points down. They held Durant and Irving to a combined 26% in the game (1/17 in the second half).

This series is inject-it-into-my-veins good.

Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets

There’s a lot to unpack in this matchup, but the biggest draw for LeBron would be Steph Curry.

It’s easy to see why LeBron is such a fan. Curry is the most entertaining player of this era. It’s even funnier to think that a player of his caliber was coming off the bench for the first two games of the series. Whether he’s a starter or a sixth man, Curry is a game-changer like no other. 

His gravity is hypnotic. Watching the Nuggets’ defense bend (and eventually break) trying to cover him is a popcorn-worthy experience. When Denver does momentarily forget about Curry, it can get downright funny. One man is making a team full of grown men, meltdown on live television.


While LeBron came to this series for Curry, he stayed for the Poole Party. As impossible as it is, the Warriors have a player that’s even flashier than Curry. Jordan Poole is what you get when you cross Curry with Nick Young.

In this series, he’s been playing like no one on the Nuggets can stop him. Everything he’s tried has worked so far. Long bombs from 30 feet out? Sure. Hesis to step-back Js? Why not? No-look dimes? Easy. Poole has been the best player in the series, which is tough to do when you’re playing with Curry and against reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.

The games haven’t been that competitive between the Warriors and Nuggets, but watching Curry and Poole pull off a Monta Ellis-Baron Davis elimination on an MVP favorite is good TV.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

I do see LeBron enjoying the series between his banana boat buddy Chris Paul and former teammate Brandon Ingram. Then there’s this. A matchup between two young teams overflowing with potential that’s just too good to pass up.

Game 1 was a duel between Anthony Edwards (Klutch client, by the way) and Ja Morant. Edwards showed absolutely no fear in his first playoff game. He led his team in scoring to score the upset over the higher-seeded Grizzlies. Morant wasn’t far behind in terms of production. He tried to lead a comeback in Game 1 but just couldn’t get it done.

That led to a fired-up Morant who powered the curb stomp of the Timberwolves in Game 2.

He finished a rebound shy of a triple-double (23-9-10) to fully showcase how ready he is to be the main man for Memphis. Edwards led Minny in scoring again but just couldn’t replicate his production in Game 1.

Morant and Edwards are good. There’s no doubt about that. But both players also like to talk, and both can actually back their talk up.


This is a nice little preview of retirement for LeBron. He can take it easy knowing that the league is in good hands with young guns like Morant and Edwards.

The NBA Playoffs have been great so far, even if it’s missing the star power of LeBron and the Lakers. There’s a sure-fire solution to remedy that, though: give LeBron (and Kyle Kuzma) their own playoff show. 

Just have them react to everything that’s happening on cam. I’d love to watch LeBron break down Boston’s defense or chop it up with Kuz about being left on an island against Curry. Make it happen! We all need a “fan” like LeBron to guide us through this playoff madness.