Fivethirtyeight.com gives the Lakers a two percent chance of making the playoffs after their back-to-back losses to the Suns and Clippers.
If you’ve watched the Lakers play lately, that seems generous. Los Angeles likely would need to go 15-3 the rest of the way — against a very tough schedule — just to be in the mix for one of the final West playoff spots. There are rumblings around the team about reducing his minutes at some point.
Just don’t tell former LeBron James teammate Channing Frye LeBron is done for the season. Here’s what Frye told Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report.
“I don’t care if there was one game left and LeBron had to win two,” Frye told Bleacher Report. “I’d still wait until the last second to doubt him…
“Listen, no one gave us an [explative] inkling when we were down 3-1 or when we were fourth in the East,” Frye said, referring to the 2016 NBA Finals and the Cavs’ regular-season finish a year ago. “Then something happens when it’s crunch time, and [LeBron] just steps to another level. I’m not doubting him or that team.”
Frye is not alone, Kevin Love echoed the same sentiment.
“We’ve seen in the past anything can happen,” Love told B/R about James’ Lakers still making the postseason, a likely nod to the then-unprecedented Finals comeback.
Anything is not happening with this Lakers’ team. I get why Frye and Love would believe in LeBron, but he cannot salvage this season the same way he has recently in Cleveland
LeBron is not moving like he is 100 percent recovered and fully trusts his groin muscle, and the Lakers don’t have the team around him to lift everyone up if LeBron isn’t doing the heavy lifting (especially with Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma out injured). Plus, this is the deeper West, not the softer East LeBron got to plow through in recent years.
Can LeBron bounce back next season if the Lakers front office does a better job of team building around him? Absolutely. We don’t know how the LeBron era with the Lakers will look in a few years. But it didn’t get off to a good start.