After the successful acquisition of LeBron James in free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of ending their five-year playoff drought. Despite struggling to build good chemistry, the Lakers managed to become a top-4 team in the Western Conference in the first half of the season. Unfortunately, after being hit by multiple injuries, the Lakers failed to consistently win games, resulting in a significant drop in the Western Conference standings.
As of now, the Lakers have lost seven of their last 10 games and are currently sitting in the No. 11 spot in the Western Conference with a 31-36 record. The Lakers still have 15 games left before the regular season comes to an end, but LeBron James admitted in a recent interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN that their playoff chances are “slim to none.” However, James promised that the people will see him play again in the postseason before he permanently ends his NBA career.
“Definitely, I’ll be watching it if we’re not in there, and it looks like our chances are slim to none after each and every game, and so many teams in the West are playing well,” James said. “So you try to get better, but this won’t be the last time I’ll be in the postseason.”
LeBron James added to his vast catalog of United Center highlights in the Lakers' win over the Bulls on Tuesday, racking up 36 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports) March 13, 2019
He added a pair of reverse alley-oop dunks for good measure.https://t.co/0hkO2W5Iu5 via @KCJHoop pic.twitter.com/yxbQNiN3wY
LeBron James may already be 34, but he still hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. In the Lakers’ recent victory over the Chicago Bulls, James proved that he is still one of the best players in the league after posting 36 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals on 65.2 percent shooting from the field and 50.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Though the Lakers are no longer expected to compete in this year’s playoffs, James said that he intends to finish the 2018-19 NBA season strong and play every game like it is his last.
“I don’t talk about [being professional]. That’s what I live,” James said. “You guys ask me questions, I answer questions, but I live being professional. I live playing every game like it’s my last. No matter what’s going on. You finish out strong. That’s just who I am.”
If he remains healthy and continues to improve his chemistry with his young teammates, LeBron James and the Lakers definitely have the capability to change the narrative in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, it’s more likely than not that James will be playing alongside new faces in his second year wearing the purple and gold. When the season is over, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are expected to be aggressive in finding superstars to pair with James either via trade or free agency.