With the 2018-19 NBA season heading into the postseason, it is a surprise that it will not be featuring NBA superstar LeBron James. This is the first time James won’t be in the playoffs since 2005. How does this affect his legacy as potentially the greatest basketball player ever?
Was the Lakers missing the playoffs his fault? Last year, the Lakers finished with a record of 35-47, they are currently 34-42. It was most expected this team to do a little better with the best player on Earth joining last summer. Los Angeles also has young assets like Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma as well as added veterans like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee.
This team is better than it was last year, yet it got eliminated from playoff contention for the sixth straight season. James has willed his team to the postseason for the majority of his career, but he wasn’t able to do so this time around and that impacts his legacy.
Secondly, his lingering injury and multiple nights off has affected the way this season has played out.
On Dec. 25, James suffered a groin injury in a win over the Golden State Warriors. He then missed 17 games before returning to play the Los Angeles Clippers. Before the next game against the Warriors, head coach Luke Walton announced that James would not play due to “load management.” Earlier in the week, rapper 2 Chainz posted a video promoting his new album “Rap Or Go To The League,” which James is credited as an executive producer.
The video was recorded on the previous Friday when James was taking time off for load management. Now, according to ESPN, James will sit on the remainder of the season. This decision has some fans calling out his attitude and desire to compete for a championship.
Lastly, other injuries have riddled the Lakers’ season. Not only was James out for a significant period of time, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo were too. Tyson Chandler, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Mike Muscala, Reggie Bullock and Moritz Wagner have dealt with injuries as well. All of these players are in the rotation, and Ingram and Hart are out for the rest of the year too. Injuries are definitely a contributing factor to the Lakers’ poor season.