Year 19 went about as poorly as it could have for LeBron James as he missed the playoffs for a second time during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The first time he missed was understandable as he was playing with several young players and missed time due to injury, but this go-around was unexpected considering the team had title aspirations for the 2021-22 season. James had an MVP-caliber year but a rash of injuries and inconsistent play was too much for even the King to overcome.
Not qualifying for the postseason is unacceptable for the Purple and Gold, but James looked at the season a different way.
“It’s not failure at all,” James said during his exit interview. “We came to work every single day and put our hard hats on. We tried to get better every day. The results just didn’t happen for us, so it’s not a failure. … We came together as a team. We wanted to be as great as we can be. We just didn’t accomplish a lot of the things that we would’ve hoped, but obviously, if you follow me for any part of my career if we don’t succeed I take a lot of the responsibility. That’s just who I am.
“So I wish I could’ve been a lot better leading this franchise this year. I wish I could’ve been in uniform a lot more than I was. I think I played 56 games I believe it was. That wasn’t enjoyed at all. Sitting on the sideline knowing that you can make a difference and not being able to do it. Hopefully, I can be a lot better with that next year.”
For someone who’s as competitive and focused on winning championships, James’ optimistic view of the year is somewhat surprising. From the sound of it, James blames his lack of availability for their shortcomings though it is hard to imagine him dragging this team to the top even if he were healthy.
With a long offseason ahead, James and the Lakers will have plenty of time to reflect and figure out how they can be better moving forward. James already declared that he is not going to miss the playoffs again, which could mean another resurgent year for him.
James did not want scoring title after being eliminated from postseason
One of the main storylines down the stretch for L.A. was whether or not James could capture his second scoring title in his career. However, James said that as soon as the Lakers were eliminated from the postseason, he did not feel the need to chase after it.
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