Lakers’ LeBron James: ‘I like where we are as a ball club today with our mindset’

AP Photo/Matthew Hinton
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LeBron James has sounded down on the Lakers lately.

He express frustration with their sense of urgency. He questioned whether basketball is the most important thing in their lives. He said any teammates feeling distracted should just quit.

Now, he’s striking a different tone.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

When asked if the statements he makes to the press are an echo of what he tells his teammates behind closed doors or if he uses the media to send messages, James side-stepped the question, shifting the conversation back toward how he views the position his team is in.

“It’s hard to kind of (determine) what I say to you guys that filters back to my guys,” James said. “For those guys, I think we try to prepare every day. And we do prepare. Not try. We prepare every day for our next challenge and we did that today. And I love the positive mindset that we have, even with the struggle that we’ve had the last 10 games. I like where we are as a ball club today with our mindset and hopefully going forward.”

It’d be nice for the Lakers if they have a positive mindset.

But that won’t be enough.

They’re tied with the Timberwolves for 10th/11th in the Western Conference and three games out of playoff position. Reaching the postseason will require not just playing better, but hoping other teams in the race don’t also get hot.

Maybe LeBron’s optimism will help. There have been signs of misery in Los Angeles this season, especially after most of the roster got discussed – but not moved – in Anthony Davis trade talks.

It’d be an even bigger help if LeBron gets fully healthy and defends better.

At least, in the meantime, it no longer sounds like he’s throwing everyone else under the bus. For now.