The Los Angeles Lakers have found themselves in a position to start the postseason in the play-in game. They are in a bit of a tailspin as of late. They have lost three straight and have lost 11 of the last 15 games. The injury to Anthony Davis has only added to the burden that is the 2021-22 season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Everybody is pointing the finger at who is to blame for the shortcomings this season and has all but given up. This is evident in the body language of nearly every player on the court, most notably LeBron James.

Recent Struggles

The Lakers reached yet another low point in the season on Sunday with a 28-point loss to the 10th seed New Orleans Pelicans. The game was fairly close through the first quarter, but the Pelicans jumped out to a double-digit lead before halftime and the Lakers gave up. It’s not very often that you can visibly see professional sports teams collectively quitting on a game, but you can see the frustration in the Lakers. They don’t run back on defense after missing a shot, hang their head and are not engaged on the bench, and seemingly do not care to win games anymore.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 09: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers complains about a call against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on March 9, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Celtics won 120-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

One Man Army

LeBron James is arguably the best basketball player to ever live. He is looked at as the leader and the voice of every locker room he has ever stepped foot in. He gets all the glory, as well as the blame. The old saying goes; heavy is the head that wears the crown. Nobody knows this better than LeBron. Lately, LeBron has seemed more interested in other teams and players than the Lakers. Just last week he was gushing over the Cavaliers during the all-star break. Now amidst the current losing streak, LeBron has shown his frustration on the court.

Let me be clear and say that LeBron is playing at an incredible level for being 37 years old and in his 19th season in the league. As it currently stands, he is averaging 28.9 points, 8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. By all measures, that is an MVP-caliber season. He is trying to carry his underwhelming Lakers squad without his co-star in Anthony Davis, who has been in and out of the lineup all year long. Despite his impressive stats, the Lakers are 27-34 on the year and time is running out for them to turn things around.

Low Ceiling For the Lakers

Everybody who has paid attention to the Lakers knows that this team is not a true contender for a championship. LeBron has evidently come to the same conclusion. The Russell Westbrook experiment has been a disaster and LeBron cannot rely on the other talent on the roster to shoulder some of the load. He looks exhausted from consistently filling to stat sheet in losing efforts.

Beginning of the End

Everybody expected the Lakers to make moves to improve the roster at the trade deadline and in the buyout market, but the team remains virtually the same. You can point to that moment in the season as to where the Lakers waived the white flag on 2022. At this point, the team is just going through the motions. They are good enough to be in the play-in game at the very least. It is a matter of wanting it or not. I personally do not think that this Lakers team wants to play longer than they have to.

LeBron is under contract until the end of next season. He won a championship for LA in the 2019-20 season, but that is looking more and more like a one-and-done championship run. The current contracts and bad fits on the roster do not show any signs of good things to come. The Lakers have sacrificed draft picks and cap space to construct this current version of the team. Nothing about this situation sounds appealing to a 38-year old LeBron James who will likely be looking for his final home in the league before retirement.

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BrandonGimpel

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