Much of the criticism surrounding LeBron James recently has been on the defensive end, where The King has been caught sleeping on a few possessions.
While LeBron is known more for what he can do on offense, he has always been known as a solid defender.
Which is why this season has been baffling to so many LeBron fans. Among a whole host of other issues plaguing the Lakers, James was supposed to be the staple on both ends of the basketball court. To be blunt, opponents are starting to notice.
In light of all this, the Laker superstar issued a dare/warning to his opponents. He wants them to test him on defense, so he can make them pay.
“I mean, every team has the right if they want to single me out defensively. Come on with it,” James told Yahoo Sports. “Hey, listen, come on with it. Every team has the right to be like, ‘Oh, ’Bron’s over there.’ Hey, just come on with it. … We’ll see what happens.”
And regarding criticism in general, he just doesn't care.
“I really don’t care. Criticism doesn’t bother me,” James told Yahoo Sports after posting 33 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. “I love to play the game and my teammates know what I do for them and that’s all that matters. … The only thing motivating me is how I can try to help my teammates be successful and trying to win ball games.
“So if [teams are] switching out on me with a guard and me having to try to get a stop, I mean, guys, they’re going to score. These are NBA players. I just try to make it tough on them. I tried to make it tough on Julius [Randle] all night, and obviously he was a monster [with a game-high 35 points], but I tried to make it tough on Jrue as well. To be able to get that stop for our team and then be able to make that shot for our team, that’s motivating for me. That’s all that matters to me.”
While he recognizes the talent around him, he also wants people to see he's doing what he can. LeBron James has not given up on his team, especially not on defense... or so he'd have us believe. No doubt, teams are going to be taking him up on this challenge.
No matter what is going on in his mind, the results aren't proving positive for this Laker team. And unless they can somehow work a miracle, they'll likely be watching the first-round from home this spring.