After losing at home to the injury-riddled Toronto Raptors last night, the Los Angeles Lakers have fallen to seventh seed with a 36-28 record and are facing the risk of elimination in the play-in tournament. It seems their superstar LeBron James isn't too happy about that, as he voiced his frustrations loud and clear.
Following their third straight loss and the sixth in the last seven games, James wasn't in a good mood, as he stated his criticism of the play-in concept:
"Whoever came up with that s--t needs to be fired."
LeBron James postgame conference
LeBron isn't the first star to openly criticize the concept of the play-in tournament, as Luka Dončić also shared his displeasure with the idea earlier this season, alongside Mark Cuban. But oh, how the tables have turned. It seems like everybody loves the idea of a play-in tournament until your team gets in the danger of being in it. Luka, Cuban, and LeBron are all guilty of this.
LeBron quickly switched his opinion from last year. If you don't remember, James, supported the idea of the play-in tournament last year when a couple of teams like Portland, Memphis, New Orleans, and Sacramento were battling for the 8th seed. But, of course, his Lakers were steady in the 1st seed at that time.
Now, when they have fallen to the 7th seed, LeBron is perplexed about the idea of having to battle his way into the playoffs. Kind of hypocritical, in my opinion, but LeBron has been known to switch his stances based on how it suits him.
The idea of single-game elimination contests to enter those last seeds is one of the better ideas the NBA has had recently. It has reduced the number of dull and meaningless games, having teams who would usually already be done for the season fight for a chance at the playoffs. It brings a fresh new dimension that most people in the NBA world have accepted pretty well.
Just look at teams like the Washington Wizards or Golden State Warriors; teams with star players that are definitely able win those one or two games to get in the promise-land — are playing with a purpose in this last stretch of the regular season. If there were no play-in tournament, players like Curry, Westbrook, and Beal would probably be missing games for all sorts of "injuries".
So LeBron, find the courage, get out of your comfort zone and get ready to face the Spurs, Warriors, or someone else in the play-in. "The King" should have no problem with that if he is the best in the world.