In 16 seasons of pro-basketball, Lebron James has missed out on the playoffs only twice. Any sports fan under the age of 25 would be hard pressed to remember a season in which Lebron wasn’t the headline of the NBA playoffs. Those under the age of 15 probably don’t even remember a season that Lebron didn’t play in the NBA Finals.
This year though, James and his new squad of Lakers have been nothing short of a dumpster fire. An utter, total, disaster. With 17 games left in the regular season, a Lebron-less NBA playoff is becoming more of a possibility. The Lakers find themselves sitting four games back from a playoff bid with just 17 games to play, coming fresh off a loss to the worst team in the league, the Suns.
The question is simple: ‘How on God’s green earth can a Lebron-Magic run Lakers team be so bad?’
The answer is just as simple and lies within the very question. The problem with the Lakers is that they are run by Lebron James and Magic Johnson. Kyrie Irving left Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for this very reason last year, and although he is having struggles of his own in Boston, he seemed to have the right idea. Playing with Lebron is not easy.
The Lakers struggles have been ongoing from the get-go, but Anthony Davis’ trade request really mucked things up in L.A. As all NBA fans know, Lebron is closely involved with team ownership, and things were no different when he heard Davis had requested a trade.
James took to pushing Magic Johnson and the Lakers to get a deal done with the Pelicans, and it involved offers of basically half the Lakers roster. As we know the Pelicans declined all offers from the Lakers, but succeeded in destroying the Lakers’ team chemistry.
The lack of chemistry and competitive edge has shown since, especially on defense. The Lakers have given up a shockingly bad 113 points per game, worse than all but 6 teams in the league.
After Sunday night’s loss to the NBA’s worst Phoenix Suns, Luke Walton addressed the media attempting to stay positive, “I’m confident,” Walton said. “I told you, I believe in our group. We need to play a lot better, but I believe that we can get it done.”
Lakers players, however, didn’t see things in a positive light. Kyle Kuzma told ESPN something is “obviously wrong with this team”, while Lebron noted the missed opportunities the Lakers have had all season.
FiveThirtyEight has the Lakers with only a 7 percent chance of making the playoffs with only 18 games to go. To make matters worse, the Lakers last 17 games will be by no means a cake walk, as they have to play the Warriors, Raptors, Celtics, Thunder and the Nuggets before the regular season is up.
Obviously though, after a loss to the Suns, the Lakers can’t afford to look past ANYONE including the Clippers who came to town Monday night in the Staples Center. If we want to see another year of Lebron headlining the NBA playoffs, the Lakers need to make some locker room adjustments, and pronto.
Lebron, the clock is ticking.
(Next Week’s story: Bryce Harper & Back to Baseball)
Featured image from pressfrom.info.