lakers, NBA

Missing the playoffs will be good

Final Chapter: Lakeshow

The NBA season is rapidly approaching. Hard to believe how quickly time has gone and while this offseason hasn’t been quite as dramatic as previous, it still had a major headliner. No, I am not talking about Carmelo. Lebron to LA. Say what you will about LeBron and the Lakers, but having the Lakers relevant is good for basketball – in the same way that when the Yankees are good, it’s good for baseball. Dynasty teams are important.

LeBron going to the Lakers is an interesting basketball move and one that I don’t think makes a lot of basketball sense at the current moment. For the immediate (actually for the rest of his career) future, the decision to go to LA was all about brand (e.g. Space Jam 2 was just announced). He going to be playing with a team that hasn’t had a winning season since ’13-’14. His roster is full of misfit toys and is in a much deeper conference. Not an ideal situation. Philly would have been a better “win now” option. No one expects LeBron to win with the Lakers (do you Ms. Buss?). And for LA, well, they get the best brand in basketball to revitalize their franchise; which desperately needs a injection to get them back on track.

But playing for LA may be a blessing for James in a different way – they will suck… After-all, he will probably want to play forever.

Work Horse

LeBron has played more playoff minutes than anyone else in the history of the NBA. Guys like Wilt, Russell, Kobe, MJ, Kareem, et al. Just writing that sentence is hard for me to believe. He has been in the postseason every single year since ’05-’06 season. Again, another unbelievable sentence. Playoff basketball intensity is undoubtedly taxing. It’s not some mid-week game, in a half empty stadium, where you can just motion through it. You can see how much players care with the scuffles, the blood drawn, the loose balls – it is a different brand of basketball. And LeBron has spent over 17% of his career in the playoffs

Besides being 33 years old, LeBron carried a heavier load this past year with the current supporting task, but held up under the pressure by averaging 32/10/8; his second best points per minute at 0.8 in his career. He is a wonder to behold.

Playoffs Basketball Top 10 List by Total Minutes Played
By Total Mins Player Total Minutes Total Games MPG
1 LeBron James 9,372 223           42.03
2 Tim Duncan 9,370 251           37.33
3 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 8,851 237           37.35
4 Kobe Bryant 8,641 220           39.28
5 Scottie Pippen 8,105 208           38.97
6 Shaquille O’Neal 8,098 216           37.49
7 Karl Malone 7,907 193           40.97
8 Tony Parker 7,758 226           34.33
9 Wilt Chamberlain 7,559 160           47.24
10 Magic Johnson 7,538 190           39.67

LeBron Total Playoff Minutes.png

There is not a doubt in my mind that Lebron makes the Lakers infinity war better, however, it is going to be an absolute battle in the West. I can see them squeezing into the 6th spot, but they are not going to make a deep run. And actually, not having a deep run or not even making the playoffs may actually be a huge relief for Lebron James’ body. He doesn’t need the reps. He doesn’t need to prove he can do it. Now, getting the Lakers to a playoff would be a huge accomplishment, but a year off would be good for LeBron.

I fully expect the Lakers to make a serious push to get Lebron a legit #2. Who knows though, maybe Lance, McGee, Beasley, Rondo, et al will surprise us even more than literally being on the same roster.

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