The Los Angeles Lakers have 25 games remaining in the regular season. Currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, the Lakers will need to replicate the success they had before LeBron James went down with an injury in order to reach the postseason for the first time in six years.
James has not missed the playoffs since his second year in the NBA. Having made the move to the Western Conference to play for a young team that has been in the lottery for the past five years, LeBron James is in uncharted territory.
Nevertheless, the star forward does not seem too worried about where the Lakers (28-29, 10th in the West) are currently sitting.
Following via Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com:
“I enjoy the challenge of anything,” James said at Wednesday’s practice. “I enjoy being uncomfortable. I enjoy being counted out.
“I’m an African-American kid from Akron, Ohio, [and] a single-parent household. Basketball is nothing compared to how I made it out. This is just basketball, and I know I’m ready for the challenge.
“I’m all about being uncomfortable,” James said. “I love being uncomfortable. I fall in love with being uncomfortable. This is another uncomfortable thing for me, and I love it.”
The Lakers are three games back of the Clippers in the 8th spot and two games back of the Kings in the 9th spot, currently. Lonzo Ball’s injury status is still unknown. It’s clear that they are in a dire situation as anything short of the playoffs would be seen as a failure for an organization that signed the best player in the world over the summer, even with the injury caveats.
James, however, has almost always flipped a switch after the All-Star Break to get his teams rounding into shape before the playoffs. It’s a different situation now that he needs to do so to ensure they make the postseason at all, but in his words, the pressure something he has plenty of experience.
If the Lakers make the playoffs, they could have a chance in almost any series, especially if they avoid the Golden State Warriors. They will have the best player in every series and judging by his comments promising the early showing of “Playoff LeBron,” he is more than ready to carry the team on his back.