In my column “LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker, he has to win an NBA title in Hollywood,” I previewed how James needs to win a title.
Every superstar who has worn a Lakers jersey has delivered a championship. It will not happen the first season, but The King does not want to be the player who took their talents to Los Angeles and does not deliver a championship.
I was right about his first season; however, James almost proved me wrong.
The Lakers have officially been eliminated from playoff contention after the Brooklyn Nets defeat the Lakers 111-106.
Joe Harris knocks down six 3-pointers while scoring 26 points, and D’Angelo Russell added 21 points and 13 assists against his former team.
The Lakers are missing playoffs for a franchise-record sixth straight season.
“For me, I keep pushing; I keep preparing myself mentally, no matter if I am in the lineup or not,” James said. “It’s not what we signed up for. Throughout the year, things happen. Suspensions, injuries, and us just not being able to play sustainable basketball for 48 minutes. You don’t even try to wrap your head around it. You keep playing and try to get better and go from there.”
The Lakers had only missed the playoffs five times in their first 55 seasons of existence before this current drought.
“You keep pushing you to see how to get better tonight and move on to tomorrow and go from there,” James added. “The playoffs is never promised, you have to go out and work. For me personally, just continue to put the work in and see what you can do to continue to help.”
The last time James missed the playoffs the world was different, literally:
Steve Nash wins first of back to back MVP awards
Lakers missed the playoff for the 2nd time since the ABA-NBA merger (1st missed in 1993-94).
Stephen Curry was graduating high school.
The Office was in its first season
Youtube was two months old (founded in Feb. 2005).
Entering the season in the Lakers uniform, James made the Finals for eight straight years and advanced to the second round in 13 consecutive postseasons.
The Lakers fan base demands banners.
James delivered a clear message to Lakers fans regarding expectations, “I don’t believe the only way to mark a successful season is to win a championship,” James said. “We’ve got a long way to go to get to Golden State. They pick up right where they left off. We’re picking up from scratch.”
Moreover, Lakers’ front office believed the pieces around LeBron and Luke Walton’s coaching style particularly a fast tempo one would end their playoff drought. “Our roster and its strengths line up perfectly with our coach and his strengths,” GM Rob Pelinka said. “We want this team to have a lot of engine thrust. We have multiple playmakers who can come at you with force.”
The reality and hope like oil and water did not mix.
The Lakers this year were more than a spectacle. They were a contending seed after the Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors.
In that same game, James suffered the first significant injury of his 16-year career with his groin.
Besides, the injuries could not be accounted for, but there also could have been personal decisions that would of help this team, in the long run, this year. You will lose a team after it is leaked that the front office’s goal was to trade players for Anthony Davis and the trade is dud, by the way, those players remain.
Lakers’ season became an excellent film taking a turn for the worse.
There is more work to be done in the offseason. It starts with acquiring Davis. Call it the sequel to the film.