With one game remaining in the Lakers’ seeding game schedule, eyes are starting to turn towards the NBA playoffs that will start Monday, August 17th. It doesn’t help that the Lakers’ final game will be against the lowly Sacramento Kings, a game that will surely be boring as I personally wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and others are rested after an impressive win against the 3rd-seeded Denver Nuggets.
With Lakers fans looking towards the playoffs, they still may be worried about the state of the team as they head into their final game 3-4 in the NBA “bubble”. They may have beaten great opponents in the Clippers, Jazz, and Nuggets, but they also were whooped by the Oklahoma City Thunder and then lost narrowly to the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers. The team’s offense has especially been troubling, although it has seemingly improved in the last two games.
Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report asked LeBron after their win on Monday what the Lakers would be on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being “playoff ready”. He had the following to say:
I don’t know, I don’t think we are a “10”. And we shouldn’t be a “10”. Because there’s a different type of preparation that goes into a playoff game. You spend hours and hours on teams because you know you’re going to be locked in with them for at least four games. Throughout the regular season or throughout these eight games you really just have maybe a day, maybe not even a full day to kinda lock into that team and then you start preparing for the next team. Me personally, as far as mentally I’m not in “playoff mode”. Physically, I’m getting there. I feel like my legs have got better and better, my game has improved more and more. I’m getting more and more comfortable with “the bubble”. As far as the mental side of it, nah, I’m not there. Personally, I don’t think our team is there. But we will be. There’s a different type of mindset you have to be in, but you don’t want to jump into it until you actually get there because it takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort.
He was then asked how the Lakers could get to that point of being “playoff ready”. LeBron then said:
Once we know who we’re playing, obviously we’re going to wait on that. Then you start to lock in on your opponent. But you build good habits along the way, we have the habits. We are ready for the playoffs, if the playoffs started tomorrow we would be ready for it. But as far as the mental side, you can’t really lock into your opponent until you know your opponent. So there’s another level to playoff basketball, but we’ve worked our habits the whole season and we’ve prepared ourselves for the playoffs and we’ll be ready for it whenever the moment comes.
LeBron seemingly gave a long-winded answer to say that the team may not be ready, but once they know who their first-round opponent is they will be prepared mentally and physically to win the series. He seemingly tried to squash any concerns in this second answer saying that the team would be ready if the playoffs started tomorrow because of the good habits they built all season.
We’ll see how the team looks next week when the playoffs start.