For the first time since the 2004-05 season, when he was still in his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James will . His Los Angeles Lakers have already been eliminated from contention, with the final blow being dealt, fittingly, by former Laker D'Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets last week.
LeBron missing the playoffs has obviously led to plenty of takes, and there will only be more to come as the regular season winds down, the Lakers take the floor again on Tuesday night against the Wizards (10:30 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with NBA League Pass add-on). One person adding their voice to the chorus is "The King's" good friend, Dwyane Wade. In the midst of his farewell tour, Wade offered his thoughts on LeBron's season during a recent interview. Via The Athletic:
LeBron's not a guy that is accustom to losing and not making the playoffs. Obviously, man, those 18 games that he was out hurt with them, it's kind of a wash. You can't even really talk about him not making the playoffs, because of that. They was the fourth seed when he went out. It's unfortunate.
People are trying to attack him a lot from the standpoint of age. It's no secret that he's getting older, he's going to get older every year. It's no doubt that you're not the same person you was, but he's still great. If this is a bad year for him — this is a bad year for him? MVP's get this kind of year. He's had an MVP-type of year. I think he understands the scrutiny that comes with being LeBron James. Whether he comes out and talks about it or not, he's driven by something different. That's why he's so great. He helps ratings for TV. He knows that. It doesn't stop nothing. He continues to approach the game the way he approaches it.
Having a year out there in the Western Conference, it is tough. You can't miss time, you can't miss games like he missed. So hopefully, going forward, he doesn't have that.
Injuries weren't the only reason the Lakers missed out on the playoffs this season, but they certainly played a big part. As Wade notes, the Lakers were in fourth place in the West when LeBron went down on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors, and by the time he got back, they were in ninth.
The Lakers figure to have quite the interesting offseason and hope to have enough talent coming in that even a few injuries won't be able to slow down their 2019-20 campaign. But regardless of who's on the team, hopefully, they'll be a lot healthier next season than they were this time around.