While Lebron James has been outspoken about his teammates’ failings, folks are now wondering about his own shortcomings.
Despite LeBron’s reputation as a superstar player, the idea that he can simply carry the Lakers to playoffs seems dubious.
After the Lakers game against the Grizzlies, fans and experts alike called attention to LeBron’s seemingly conspicuous lack of effort.
Rocky Road to Playoffs
While LeBron was a huge pickup for the Lakers, the team certainly still seems to be struggling. After losing 110-105 to the Memphis Grizzlies, the team is now 29-31 for the season. This puts them all the way down to the 11th spot in the Western Conference.
At this rate, it seems unlikely that the Lakers will make playoffs, regardless of LeBron’s track record.
Worse still, could the four-time MVP be at least partially to blame for their Monday night loss?
Slacking on defense certainly isn’t going to help, especially considering the team has the 26th worst defensive rating in the league.
Last week, LeBron told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes that the intensity needed to take the team to playoffs had “been activated.” However, after seeing his striking lack of defensive efforts during Monday’s game, that seems rather questionable.
Not to mention some fans have voiced concerns about his dedication recently as well. For example, LeBron sat out the February 2 game against the Golden State Warriors due to “load management.” Some fans speculated that it was due to endeavors off the court, like his work with 2Chainz. Though LeBron has denied this.
The truth hurts, but playing on a team with LeBron is no easy task. Often hailed as the best player in the world, he’s appeared in 13 consecutive postseasons and eight consecutive NBA Finals. As such, LeBron is not exactly one to be easily counted out. He’s also repeatedly stated that it’s being uncomfortable that makes him the most comfortable.
So, was Monday nights malaise just the result of mounting frustrations?
On Saturday, LeBron called out his teammates for lacking a necessary “sense of urgency.” But on Monday, he didn’t seem to have it either. Then, after their loss to the Grizzlies, he again questioned the team, citing a lack of focus.
Since he’s returned from his groin injury, LeBron just doesn’t seem to have the same oomph as he once did. Nor does his intensity exactly look “activated.” Granted, LeBron is playing hurt, and it’s really up to his teammates to step up.
Plus, without Lonzo Ball on the court, the team’s missing some serious playmaking power there as well.
So, can the Lakers make it to playoffs? Is James expecting too much of his teammates? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, they seriously need to step up their defense.