There’s not a lot of time left for the remade Lakers — just 23 regular-season games to be exact.
And they enter that final stretch on the outside of the playoffs after failing to make even the play-in tournament last year. For the record, the Lakers (27-32) are in 13th place in the 15-team Western Conference.
But just three games back of the seventh-place Pelicans. So star forward LeBron James seems to know that good things could still happen.
“It’s 23 of the most important games of my career, for a regular season,” James said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “It’s the type of mindset that I have, and I hope the guys will have, coming back off the break.”
James has missed 14 games this year, mostly because of an iffy ankle. He has a lot of mileage on his legs, but now is no time to worry about any of that.
For the Lakers, the playoffs have already begun.
“I hope I can figure out a way to just make sure that I’m available on the floor every single night for these 23 games to give us a chance,” James said. “Give our group a chance to be able to compete every night and give ourselves a chance to win every night so we can give ourselves a chance to get into the postseason.”
James said last week that he’s excited about the additions at the trade deadline — from guard D’Angelo Russell to shooting guard Malik Beasley to power forward Jarred Vanderbilt and beyond.
“And right now, I mean, I like the guys we have coming in … I mean, it’s going to take some time for us to get to know one another, but I know they play the game at a high level,” James said, via Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation.
“I know D-Lo is a really good, shifty point guard. He can space the floor. Very crafty. Very deceiving with his quickness, the way he plays the game. We got a laser in Malik that we just never had this season. A guy, whenever he’s on the floor, no matter if he’s making it or not, you have to respect him because of his ability to shoot the ball. He has kind of that J.R. Smith feeling that he can miss 10 in a row and make 10 in a row right after that.”
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