The Los Angeles Lakers went into this season with massive expectations. Among the preseason favorites to win the NBA championship, the Lakers were supposed to get back to the top with their new Big 3 of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Fast forward to the end of the regular season, the Lakers aren't involved in the postseason, and Head Coach Frank Vogel is no longer with the team.
Any way you slice it, this season has been a failure for one of the NBA's most historically successful organizations. However, their main star LeBron James doesn't seem to think so. In his exit interview after the final game of the season, LBJ told reporters that the season wasn't a failure at all, explaining that it was just the results that were lacking for the Lakers.
"I mean it's not a failure. We came to work every day this season, put our hard hats on, we tried to get better every day and the results just didn't happen for us. But it's not a failure."
Understandably, LeBron was positive about the work the team had put into this season, but the gap between expectation and reality would suggest that the season has been a failure. A lot of media members were amused by LeBron saying so, and none more so than Stephen A. Smith, who called LeBron out for his statement on ESPN.
"Come on, LeBron... Yo Bron, Bronny's watching bro. Your family's watching. The basketball world is watching. How could you say something so flagrantly untrue? How could you say that? Come on bro, you're better than that.
"LeBron James is one of the greatest players this game has ever seen. My brother, we will miss you when you are gone... 19 years in, your 19th year in the league, you averaged 30. You flat out balled.
"You finished 16 games under .500 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. A place where you came to win championships, just to fulfill what others before you had done. Kobe and Shaq and everybody in between. You finished 16 games under .500. In a playoff system that's gone from 8 teams per conference to 10 teams per conference, you still missed the playoffs. And that's not a failure? You gotta be kidding me."
It's hard to disagree with Stephen A.'s assessment here. LeBron James being a professional wouldn't throw his teammates under the bus in front of the media, but there is no way the Lakers aren't severely disappointed with the way this season has gone. The organization needs to regroup and go again next season now, and hope they don't repeat their mistakes so that they can put together a serious bid for the NBA title again next season.