Video: Clips of LeBron James’ hideous defense show why he’s in no position to chide Lakers teammates
LeBron James has been rearing his Los Angeles Lakers teammates after proclaiming his activation of “playoff mode” following the All-Star break in a quest to make the playoffs. Recent clips of his performance on the court have shown why he is no position to make such demands or throw the young core under the bus, as he has recently done.
The clip below showcases James patrolling the paint and leaving his assignment, Memphis Grizzlies forward Bruno Caboclo, wide open from the wing. Los Angeles paid dearly for this offense in a four-point game, seeing it quickly turned into a seven-point deficit:
Bruno Caboclo left wide open by LeBron, drills the 3 pic.twitter.com/dg68dq05ce
— Heart of NBA (@HeartofNBA) February 26, 2019
Caboclo is a career 26.8 percent shooter from deep, but even if James had read that scouting report, taking such a gamble when the Lakers desperately need any win they can get is rather demoralizing and wildly irresponsible from a self-proclaimed leader, even more so for one who wants to play the role of team motivator.
If that wasn’t enough, the next clip shows even more of his early-retirement defense, playing the part of mere spectator in most of these plays:
Early retirement pic.twitter.com/5003pHnhgP
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) February 26, 2019
One can make the argument that his groin injury is still bothering him, but LeBron James himself told reporters he is no longer hobbled by this injury and expects to go full-throttle for the rest of the season.
For those of you who argue differently, this is hardly the first time James has taken breaks on defense, as his rejuvenated body is largely due to playing only one side of the ball for the past few years, even self-admittedly taking a break on defense to muster the energy to close games out.
The Lakers are now 1-2 since the All-Star break and have gone 9-17 in their last 26 games since losing James to a groin injury, going from fourth place in the West to 11th, now three games back of the final playoff spot out West.
Yet this lack of engagement on defensive possessions against a team likely to wind up with one of the worst records in the league is just a mockery and a hypocrisy of his very own work on the court, despite what the stats say at the end of the game.
Men lie, numbers lie, but the video evidence doesn’t.