Despite some rocky play through the first two seeding games, the Los Angeles Lakers sit at 50-15 and are just one win away from clinching the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.
LeBron James has not looked like himself through the entirety of scrimmages and seeding games, but could be simultaneously still getting back into rhythm while preserving himself for more important games.
Within the Walt Disney World bubble, having the No. 1 seed is simply a designation that comes with slightly more favorable matchups, as there is minimal home-court advantage. James knows this, and although having the No. 1 seed would be a great indicator of their hard work this season, he wants to prioritize team health above all else.
“Health is wealth. That’s the No. 1 thing, and then chemistry comes with that on the floor,” James said. “Going into the postseason as healthy as we can be is what’s most important.
“Clinching the one seed is not much of a home-court advantage here, but we worked hard to be the No. 1 team in the West and possibly the No. 1 team in the league. Milwaukee is playing extremely well, but we got this far so we might as well try to figure it out and close it off the right way.”
James will likely prioritize health even more as he realizes that catching the Milwaukee Bucks may be an immensely difficult task. With six games remaining, the Lakers trail the Bucks by three games overall and two in the loss column. In order for the Lakers to pass the Bucks, they’d have to win at least two more games than them.
While doable, it may be too difficult for it to be worthwhile. James is absolutely correct that health is the most important thing. Winning one more game out of six is all it would take to clinch the No. 1 seed.
James, Lakers averse to gameday shootaround
James is known as one of the best in the NBA in terms of preserving his body, and a part of that could come from James only doing what’s necessary for him to be successful.
Because of this, the Lakers have become somewhat inconsistent with holding official shootarounds before games. That reportedly is a product of both James and Anthony Davis being against them.
L.A. did have a shootaround Monday, which head coach Frank Vogel explained had already been scheduled prior to the team struggling in a loss to the Raptors.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!