Despite having activated playoff mode, LeBron James and the Lakers are still struggling to climb their way back into post-season contention. This has people from all angles wondering what's wrong with Los Angeles' young core of players. Yet, one NBA insider claims that the burden shouldn't rest solely on James' supporting cast.
"LeBron rarely exerts himself beyond a casual job in transition defense and disregards spot-up shooters in most half-court situations, leaving them wide open," Zayas explained. "His defensive game these days resembles a disinterested center rather than the high-end wing defender that he once was."
This is the polar opposite of James' offensive play. Since returning from his injury, Bron has averaged a triple-double of 24.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. However, another Film Room analyst says that these tremendous numbers merely mask his lackluster defense.
"He's been doing that all year," the analyst said. "He's been [coasting on defense] for a few years now."
In addition to his defensive woes, it is believed that James' close relationship with his agent Rich Paul and the all-in bid for Anthony Davis (who is also a Klutch Sports client) has damaged the team's chemistry.
"He killed the [Lakers'] chemistry," an NBA executive told Bleacher Report. "He shouldn't have been so public about it. Even during the All-Star Draft, he laughed about [wanting Davis to be his teammate]."
These reports of disconnect follow LeBron's controversial comments following the Lakers' recent loss to an under-manned New Orleans Pelicans team, in which he questioned his teammates' urgency.
"When you've never been there or know what it takes [to win at a high level], sometimes you're afraid to get uncomfortable. You've got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable," James said. "It's how you approach the game every day...Is basketball, is that the most important thing, why we're doing this. Is this the most important thing in your life at this time?"
Many assumed that this was a jab at his younger teammates and chastised James for being so open about his feelings the same way he was open about wanting to make a move for AD. If the Lakers have any hope of playing in April, they're going to have to get things buttoned up sooner rather than later.