The Los Angeles Lakers are down to their last 15 games of the regular season, and while they have yet to be officially eliminated from the NBA playoffs, they’re currently 7.5 games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference and five games below a .500 record. They literally have a better chance of winning the NBA Draft Lottery than making the playoffs as things stand right now.
To many, that may signal the unofficial end to the season, but LeBron James is among the crowd that believes that every game is an opportunity for the Lakers to grow as a team.
Following their 123-107 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, James told reporters that he wants his younger teammates to treat the remaining games on their schedule like the NBA playoffs so that they can develop for when the real thing rolls around:
“We’re still playing playoff teams. And for our young guys to play against playoff teams on the road, I think that’s very key for their development. We have an opportunity on this trip, we go into Toronto, we go into Detroit — who is a playoff team — we go into Milwaukee at the end of the trip.
“(They’re) all playoff teams, all improving teams. Those games will be like playoff games if we want them to be, and they’ll get an opportunity to learn. And I get the opportunity to be out on the floor with them, so we can take that out of it for sure.”