It’s been a rough season for the Los Angeles Lakers. After being picked as favorites to come out of the West in the preseason and listed at second behind the Brooklyn Nets on DraftKings Sportsbook to win the NBA title, the Lakers are a handful of games away from missing the postseason altogether. There are many legitimate reasons for why this season could’ve turned out differently, but the focus will now be on LeBron James as he attempts to navigate an unfamiliar situation at an advanced age.
James, when healthy, is still putting up massive numbers and could win the scoring title. At 37 years old, he’s still one of the top players in the league. However, the Lakers have done a poor job surrounding James with the right type of talent for his skills. Some of this is due to injuries. Anthony Davis has been hurt for much of the season and James himself has been sitting out more games than usual. For now, it looks like the Lakers are not going to make the playoffs. So when was the last time James didn’t play in the postseason?
The King actually didn’t make the playoffs in his first year with LA during the 2018-19 season. The Lakers navigated through a similar injury-filled season under Luke Walton, with James sitting out most of the year with a groin injury. The team went out and won the title the following year in the bubble, so that season was largely forgotten.
Prior to his time in LA, James last missed the playoffs during his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s been in the playoffs every season since that one, including a run of eight straight Finals appearances during his time with the Miami Heat and Cavaliers. This would be the third time in James’ illustrious career he misses out on postseason play, if the Lakers fail to get their act together late in the season. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the team is +600 to make the playoffs and -1200 to miss them.