The Los Angeles Lakers’ picked up a much needed win, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 125-119 in a game where Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis played only 21 minutes. After Monday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers had dropped four of their last five games, when the sense of urgency is supposed to be the highest that it has been all season. Their home victory Wednesday night may be just what they needed to stop the bleeding.
Or is it?
Let it be known: I am not a Lakers’ fan, and I will agree that they are in a better position than my Washington Wizards, but I think it’s time to finally hold LeBron accountable for his lack of production.
Just days ago, LeBron claimed to be entering “Playoff Mode.” If Monday’s performance was any indication of what that mode looks like, Lakers’ fans should make their summer plans knowing playoff basketball won’t be a part of them. Though LeBron redeemed himself Wednesday, shooting 13-24 and scoring a team high 33 points, there is no question tensions are high in L.A.
While I have never been one to fawn over LeBron, he may very well be the most talented player ever. He has done incredible things throughout his career and for the most part, been as consistent as anyone. With that being said, I believe he has been given a pass at times. We continually praise his dominance while ignoring the plays he takes off.
The story of LeBron’s career is starting to take on the narrative that he’s the best player ever, but we have heard all the excuses and the Stan’s have rushed to his defense. The Warriors this, the Spurs that. Enough.
I have no sympathy for him. After promising seven rings in South Beach, he spurned Miami for Cleveland (after spurning Cleveland for Miami) and joined forces with arguably the best point guard in the NBA.
With the help of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, that Cleveland team would go on to win a championship in his second season back in a Cavs’ uniform. LeBron finally “won one for the ‘Land.” But let’s not forget it was Irving who took and hit the game winning three-point shot in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA finals.
Last week, LeBron had “nothing left to prove.” This week, James questioned if basketball is the most important thing in his teammates’ life. The same teammates he worked hard to try and trade just weeks ago. The comments came just a few short weeks after James missed the highly anticipated February 2nd game vs. the Golden State Warriors for “load management.” No problem, right? After all, LeBron played 40 minutes in a win just two nights earlier after returning from injury.
It seemed plausible. Weird, but plausible.
That is until the Atlanta based rapper 2 Chainz released a video on his Instagram page showing him with LeBron, drinking into the early hours of the morning on the day the Lakers’ were scheduled to play the Warriors. So much for load management.
To be fair, he has played a lot of minutes in his NBA career, as well as played in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Games representing the United States. None of that can ever be taken away from him, but we can certainly question his leadership qualities.
A leader isn’t out partying the day of a game. A leader does not attempt to trade his entire team and fire its head coach and a leader does not sit back and wait to find the best team to play with.
LeBron, day-by-day, does damage to his legacy. If he wants a music and movie career, he should put basketball to sleep, much like Michael Jordan did to pursue his baseball dream. Instead, James has shown a true lack of respect for the game and his teammates. Lazy defensive efforts when it matters most, combined with his lack of interest in even sitting next to his teammates on the bench, could be just the beginning of a very turbulent end to the season for Los Angeles. Currently sitting a game below .500 and 10th in the West, things don’t get easier for LeBron and company as 4 out of their next 5 games come against teams who would, as of today, qualify for the NBA playoffs.
Tomorrow, Kyle Kuzma LeBron James and the Lakers’ get another opportunity to get back in the playoff picture at home against the east leading Milwaukee Bucks. But time is running out and with Los Angeles on the outside looking in it’s time to wonder. Will LeBron miss the playoffs?
One thing we do know, LeBron has made his own bed. He should get comfortable in it.