Just a few seasons ago, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers impressed all of the NBA as they won their 17th championship.
Since then, things have not been nearly as good for the storied franchise.
At the end of the 2020-21 season, the team only made it into the first round before being pushed out by the Phoenix Suns.
Then, last season, they didn’t qualify for the play-in tournament.
Based on what we have seen this season, there is a chance that happens again.
If it does, it’ll make history.
.@stephenasmith says it would be a "stain to some degree" if LeBron misses the playoffs again.
"You're LeBron James, and you're Anthony Davis, and you're healthy enough to be on the court. You don't make the playoffs? That's quite embarrassing." pic.twitter.com/I1zdx6JNoF
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 21, 2023
Speaking on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith said that another absence from the playoffs this year would be a “stain to some degree” on James’ career and his history in the NBA.
“You’re LeBron James, and you’re Anthony Davis, and you’re healthy enough to be on the court,” Smith said.
He continued, “You don’t make the playoffs? That’s quite embarrassing.”
Smith might be the loudest voice saying this but he’s not alone in his opinion.
There are many people who will be shocked and saddened if the Lakers aren’t able to make the playoffs.
If James isn’t in the postseason for the second year in a row, it’ll be the first time during his career that he’s missed the mark for consecutive seasons since the first two years of his career.
James and his Lakers missed the playoffs during his first year with the team in 2018-19.
But they turned things around the following season, landed Davis, and stormed all the way to success in the Finals.
A lot has changed in the league since then and competition has become more fierce as James and Davis have aged.
Still, missing the postseason yet again would surely be a low point of James’ career – and one that he will fight hard to avoid.
But will all his fighting and talent be enough?NEXT: Lakers Fan Favorite Continues To Show Stark Progress