LeBron James and the Lakers find themselves in a very ugly spot at the moment. The LA franchise are reeling in 11th place in the Western conference and have a tough run up for fixtures going into the playoffs.
The team seems deflated and out of ideas on court. While players on an individual level are racking up some good numbers; as a team the Lakers seem dysfunctional.
In clutch moments, neither are individuals rising nor is the team playing like one cohesive unit.
While a loss to AD-less Pelicans was already hard to swallow, the Lakers then went onto lose to the Memphis Grizzlies; a team that is probably currently focussed on tanking their way to Zion Williamson.
— NBA (@NBA) February 26, 2019
Any frustration by LeBron James here seems to be in response to the question and the reporter asking it. That reporter was me. I thought he was pretty clearly rejecting the notion that the race for the playoffs is a distraction, not calling out his teammates for being distracted. https://t.co/O1opRqrm8z
— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 26, 2019
Ever since the Anthony Davis trade saga, things don’t seem to be right at the Lakers, with the young core having lost their zest and LeBron not leading them on as he should.
LeBron James had called out the Lakers players after the loss to New Orleans Pelicans, admitting that he felt that the players were ‘afraid’ to take things in their own hands during clutch situations.
“When you’ve never been there or know what it takes to shoot for something like that, sometimes you’re afraid to get uncomfortable,” LeBron said.
“You’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“I’m not saying that’s what we are as a whole, kind of looks like that at times that sometimes we’re afraid to being uncomfortable.
“Kind of get out of our comfort zone, have that sense of urgency from the jump and not be afraid to go out and fail to succeed.
“We have 23 games left and we’ll see what happens.” he added.
Now, post the Grizzlies loss, LeBron went on a rant once again, asking the players to sort out their ‘playoff distractions’.
LeBron wanted the players to shun out distractions, because only those who could would be worthy of that Lakers jersey.
“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.’” LeBron said.
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
Well, I’m going to stop complaining about Kyrie’s leadership now.
— 이주민 / Chris Lee (@oldtype) February 26, 2019
Kyrie isn’t the leader of the Celtics pic.twitter.com/NT8538Qofp
— Ben (@benharmon1012) February 26, 2019
Coming from the guy filming a movie, a TV show, and also trying to trade half his team.
— HomeWood (@AGameOfPool) February 26, 2019
The distractions he single handedly creates. My word
— Joseph (@Hockeyjunkie88) February 26, 2019
These comments from LeBron haven’t been well received by the NBA community, who feel that LeBron is criticising his players a little too often.
Now, LeBron himself has to share the blame for these two unexpected losses, as he hasn’t been at his best individually or while marshalling his troops.
The locker room problems need to go out of the window and LeBron needs to find a way of criticising and motivating his players at the same time.