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For the first time in 15 years, LeBron James will not play in the postseason, as his first year as the Lakers leader did not produce the expected results
As often happens in cases like these, with the virtual elimination of the Los Angeles Lakers playoffs, in the absence of just over 10 regular calendar games, the basketball environment currently strives to point out those responsible for this Californian disaster, despite the addition of LeBron James.
In LatinAmerican Post we join the exercise that some media has already done on the subject: specify what happened to the Angels. Blog de Basket, for example, clarifies that the first one is the coach, Luke Walton, who is accused of lack of character and having a tense relationship with several players. Unless there are surprises, he will not be the team coach in the next campaign.
Leer en español: ¿Por qué fracasaron Los Ángeles Lakers en la temporada 18-19?
Others who are on the list of responsible are the young talents of the team such as Brandom Ingram, Lonzo Ball and company, who have not taken the lead role that was expected of them in key, high tension and cold head games.
Of course, James also enters into that unflattering list, although just by reviewing his numbers it is evident that he is the one who least deserves that responsibility. This man was the leading scorer of the club in more than half of the games and more than half of the victories and surpassed Michael Jordan's record score in basketball history. In addition, he accumulated 13 consecutive seasons reaching the playoffs, including eight finals in succession and with two different teams, so he should not be mentioned within a failed project.
According to the NBA website, the truth is that, for the first time since the 2004-05 season, James will not play the playoffs, something that has only happened to him in his first two campaigns with the Cleveland Cavs. For the rest, he has always played them, with Cleveland (in its two stages) as in Miami. He also played the last 8 league finals, of which he won 3.
In conclusion, the Lakers' slump without playing postseason (since 2013) prevailed over LeBron playing decisive stages and winning several of them. Anyway, Blog de Basket adds, this new failure does not do more than threading with how badly things have been done by the team management for more than a quinquennium.
Magic Johnson's management
The 2010 title marked in some way the end of the successful era of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, which was after the withdrawal of Shaquille 0 'Neal, and that inevitably began the darkest decade in the history of the franchise.
This tortuous decade, it is clear, has nothing to do with Walton, nor with young people, much less with James. Rather it is directly linked to the office, the one that directs the glory of American basketball: Earvin 'Magic' Johnson with Rob Pelinka. Basket Blog ensures that the Lakers are the team with the most defeats in the league since the 2013 campaign with 320, even ahead of franchises with less obligation as New York Knicks (317), Orlando Magic (309) and Phoenix Suns (307).
The first mistakes are related to the players whom they have let go. Renowned names in the league and with some experience as Julius Randle, the figure today of the New Orleans Pelicans, the experienced Brook Lopez of good campaign in the Milwaukee Bucks, and especially D'Angelo Russell, the undisputed leader of the surprising and so far ranked Brooklyn Nets, have left by the back door of the club.
For the Blog del Basket, the second mistake has to do with the draft. They have not been able to obtain benefits from their choices, although these have been the second best ranked in 3 of the last 4 years, so they seem to have no idea how to build a competitive team. Worse yet, elite players to accompany Lebron as Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis show no interest in going to play at Staples Center.
For many, even LeBron James should end the season and sit the rest of the year. The player has rejected this, for now, as ESPN explains that the Lakers have the twelfth worst record in the NBA, but only 4 games ahead of the eighth worst. In conclusion, this means that there is no significant progress in sports compared to previous campaigns.
However, Johnson and Pelika can still mend their mistakes if they achieve the salary space they needed for the upcoming campaign, by not bringing any other figure to accompany James. Perhaps there was overconfidence thinking that with the players they had it was enough to at least play the first round of the postseason, which was the clear objective for this 2018-19.
Also read: The Lakers are going for the best ones
The days when everything was over
The NBA website reports that the Californians received two consecutive hard-to-beat shots against the Los Angeles Clippers and then against the Boston Celtics. The defeat, against their direct rival and neighbor, put them to 5.5 games away at that time and with 18 games to play, very contrary to the 3.5 that would have been, in case of having won.
In turn, El País from Spain reported that the final stumble and at home was the 107-120 loss to Boston. James' triple double, with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, did not help, since they really presented a very weakened team with the losses of their young core, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Lance Stephenson.
To all the factors already mentioned, it must be added that injuries to the team were the order of the day, including James for 17 games, and that made the classification more difficult. "It's hard and difficult, but I knew what I was getting into. We were injured several at the same time and that affected the team," said LeBron himself.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "¿Por qué fracasaron Los Angeles Lakers en la temporada 18-19?"