For the first time since he was 20 years old, LeBron James will not be playing postseason basketball this season after the Los Angeles Lakers were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week.
The last time James watched the playoffs from home, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA championship. Ginobli is getting his jersey retired in San Antonio on Thursday. Suffice to say, it’s going to be a change of pace for James, and he knows it.
Following the Lakers’ win over the Washington Wizards, James said it has been especially hard for him to come to terms that he won’t be playing in the postseason on days he isn’t playing.
“It’s been difficult in between (game) days. I can’t sit here and lie. Just to know that mathematically we’re eliminated from the postseason...” James said, trailing off. “That’s like March Madness to me, to be able to go and play those games. But at the end of the day once the game is here, and I know I’m going to be able to play, when I suit up it’s all business.”
So far, James has been a man of his word.
In the three games since the Lakers have been eliminated from playoff contention, James is averaging 25.7 points, 9 rebounds and a team-high 13 assists per game. His field goal percentage has taken a slight dip during that time (41.8 percent), but James is confident he can always influence the game with his playmaking.
“I never change my approach, I go out and try to make plays happen. I’m not going to make every shot, but I try to make every play for teammates and make them feel great on the floor, and try to make plays for myself as well when I get the opportunity,” James said.
Not getting the opportunity to see James and the Lakers’ young core in the playoffs is disappointing, especially with the uncertainty that surrounds the roster this summer, but James has promised Lakers fans that the team will be back in the postseason sooner rather than later:
For the sake of basketball fans everywhere, let’s hope he’s right.