LeBron James And The Lakers Are In A Freefall As Chaos Reign In Lakers Locker Room; Team Chemistry Still A Problem
LeBron James was supposed to lead the Los Angeles Lakers back to the promised land. Instead of the immediate success expected from a James-led team, the Lakers stumbled out of the gates and are seemingly on the verge of imploding. The Lakers trail the eighth-placed team by three games.
LeBron James has only missed the playoffs twice in his NBA career. And that was during his first two years in the NBA. After that, James has never missed the postseason on the way to winning three NBA championships. This time, James is not only in danger of missing the postseason, but it also looks like he is also in the verge of losing the confidence of his teammates.
“Aye how’s the season going so far?”
Lakers: pic.twitter.com/n8FvGwrZ1v — 6BONUS (@ripchampi) February 6, 2019
The Lakers have been consistently inconsistent throughout this season. They started by losing three straight close games and have never managed to string more than 4 consecutive victories together. And while the basketball pundits can chalk the team's inconsistency to chemistry, it is clear that the Lakers are still underperforming. Especially if you consider the plethora of talents they have in their roster.
The Lakers just lost their second straight after the All-Star break. After defeating the Houston Rockets in L.A., the Lakers dropped two straight on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies. One thing has become apparently clear, the Lakers, as a whole, are frustrated.
And now, rumors are suggesting that there is chaos in the Lakers' locker room, and supposedly, it started when the James and the Lakers initiated the trade negotiation that would have sent the New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis to Los Angeles in exchange for several Lakers players. It just hasn't been the same since then. And if the Lakers fans think that it is high-time for LeBron James to take charge of the group, then they are most definitely correct.
However, LeBron James himself has been frustrated. He claims that the team's lack of urgency is a huge factor why the team is underperforming. Several media personalities have suggested that the drama surrounding the team may have contributed to the Lakers' woes. James is accustomed to this kind of distraction and thinks that NBA players should learn how to deal with it.
Lakers’ LeBron James after loss to Grizzlies (via @SpectrumSN): “If you’re still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come in and be like, ‘Listen, I can’t do this.’” pic.twitter.com/s3gHiuhODx — Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 26, 2019
"At this point, if you are still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of, and you should just come in and say, 'I can't do this," James said in an interview. While this manner of speaking may be James' way to inspire or spur his teammates, it can come out and be interpreted in the worst possible way.
Of course, the Lakers organization's front office isn't blameless. The way that the Lakers publicly went after Davis practically showed their players that the front office is willing to gut the team in exchange for a single player. To be fair, Davis is a top-5 player in the NBA and basketball analysts agree that it would have been a fair trade.
But then, the negotiations stalled and fizzled to a screeching stop. And the Lakers are left with the walking wounded. The Lakers weren't left with the physically injured players, but with personnel whose pride are wounded.
The Lakers are claiming that they will continue to battle it out to reach the playoffs. A tall order, it seems, for a team that has become dysfunctional and without good chemistry. The Lakers need a solution for their problems and there is at least one constant in this equation: the quality of LeBron James. The question, however, is whether the other young Lakers would follow James from here on out.