The Lakers entered the season with championship dreams but hardly look like anything resembling a championship team.
And no less than LeBron James is calling it like he sees it.
“[This season] ranks right at the top of any other challenge I’ve had in my career, which actually brings out the best in me and I love that,” James told reporters. “I love trying to figure out how we can be better, get through the mud, get through the adversity, and just making it sweeter on the back end. I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface on what team we can be.”
The Lakers (11-11) have played more home games than anyone, yet continue to look … well, very average. The most recent examples came in a triple-overtime home loss to the Kings, then barely holding on to top the Pistons at home.
The Kings and Pistons, mind you, aren’t exactly the Warriors and Suns. Instead, they were the type of non-playoff opponents the high-and-mighty Lakers have struggled against all season.
All of it has led to coach Frank Vogel seemingly being on the hot seat. Little consideration seems to being given to the fact the Lakers have the oldest roster in NBA history.
But clearly, that plays a role — as they suddenly stop being able to defend late in games.
James has also missed time with a sore ankle, an abdominal strain and a one-game suspension. None of that helps matters. Without James, the Lakers look like little more than Davis’ old Pelicans teams.
“It’s disappointing, but at the same time I understand the process,” Westbrook said. “Adversity is something that I think is great in life in general. It builds character. It shows who you really are when things aren’t going your way.”
James implied that what really matters, though, is that the Lakers have come together and are at the top of their game when it means the most.
“We’re gonna continue to get better and better as we continue to learn each other more and more, continuing to work into our system offensively and defensively,” he said.