For one of the most illustrious franchises not only in the NBA but in the entire sports world, the Los Angeles Lakers have faced more than their share of adversity over the past few seasons.
That certainly remained true this year, where the Lakers are poised to miss the postseason for a fifth straight year despite the offseason addition of one LeBron James. James has been a mainstay in the playoffs over his 16-year professional career, but will miss the postseason for the first time since 2005.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough season for all of us,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin following the Lakers’ 111-106 loss to the Nets on Friday. “It’s not what we signed up for. Throughout the year, things happened. Suspensions, injuries, things of that nature. And just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes. But you don’t even try to wrap your head around it, you just keep pushing. Just try to get better tonight, move on to tomorrow, and go from there. Playoffs are never promised. You’ve got to come out and work. For me personally, you just continue to put the work in and see what you can do to help.”
This is obviously unfamiliar territory for LeBron James who has been accustomed to immense success for almost his entire NBA career. Now on the outside looking in as far as the postseason goes, James has to sit back and re-evaluate what’s been a significantly underwhelming debut year in LA.
With a record of 31-41 with 10 games left on the schedule, the Lakers are currently on pace to finish worse than last year’s mark of 35-47 despite adding who many consider the best player in the world. Of course, injuries played a major factor in the Lakers’ demise this season but a staunch Western Conference was another key reason. Cruising through the East as opposed to facing a solid team nearly every night in the West is a whole different ballgame, and James now knows this first-hand.