LeBron James and the LA Lakers have the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They were playing excellent prior to the NBA suspending its season due to COVID-19. However, James and the Lakers have not looked quite as good since playing in the bubble. Many are now wondering if they are in trouble since the playoffs are right around the corner. It might not just be problems on the court for them, though, as the Lakers could have some off-court problems right now too.
LeBron James and the Lakers are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference
The Lakers were rolling prior to the NBA suspending its season due to COVID-19. They had a 49-14 record, and they were in first place in the Western Conference.
James and Anthony Davis were easily one of the best duos in the league too. James averaged 25.7 points per game, 7.9 rebounds, and an NBA-leading 10.6 assists prior to play getting suspended. Davis, on the other hand, averaged 26.7 points and 9.4 rebounds.
Then, once play restarted in the bubble, the Lakers ultimately clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. After going 1-1 in their first two games with a win over the LA Clippers, and a loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Lakers won a game over the Utah Jazz, which clinched the top spot in the West.
The Lakers have struggled in the NBA bubble
The Lakers are now 2-3 since entering the NBA bubble. On the season, the Lakers are shooting 47.9% from the field and 34.6% from 3-point range. They are also scoring 113.2 points per game. However, in the bubble, the Lakers are shooting 40.8% from the field, 23.4% from 3-points range, and only scoring 98.8 points per game.
As you can probably see from the stats above, the Lakers have shot awful in their three losses in the bubble. They shot 35.4% from the field against the Raptors, and 25% from 3-point range. In their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they shot 35.2% from the field and 13.5% from 3-point range. Then in a loss to the Houston Rockets — in a game which James did not play — the Lakers shot 10.5% from 3-point range.
James has played in four of the five games in the bubble, and he has not played nearly as well as he did prior to the league getting suspended. He is just averaging 19.3 points per game and 6.3 assists. James is also just shooting 42% from the field and 27.3% from 3-point range. He had shot 49.8% from the field and 34.9% from 3-point range prior to play getting suspended.
So, the Lakers are having a hard time getting their shots to fall right now, but do they have some problems off the court as well?
LeBron James might have hinted at off-court problems for the Lakers
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon wrote a piece dissecting the Lakers-Thunder game that took place on Aug. 5. In the article, he wrote that James agreed that the Lakers were looking for a rhythm offensively, but that James also said this.
“It’s just some things that you can’t control that’s here, that I really don’t want to talk about, that’s off the floor.”
Vardon did not seem to have any idea about what James was meaning. So, this is pretty much just open for speculation — there are a million things that could be considered as off-court problems. Is there fighting going on within the team? Do they have issues with the bubble environment? We really don’t know. However, with the Lakers struggling so much on the court, it is intriguing to hear that they have some problems off the court as well.
For the sake of LeBron James’ legacy, though, let’s hope the Lakers figure out their on and off-court issues soon.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference