The Los Angeles Lakers went from being one of the top-notch defensive teams in the NBA to having the third-worst defensive rating (112.8 points against) this season. Their lack of defensive effort has been a season-long issue.
Needless to say, not having Anthony Davis anchoring the paint has taken a big toll on their defensive schemes. But even so, the purple and gold have failed to at least put in some kind of fight to try and get a stop.
Unsurprisingly, bonafide LeBron James hater Skip Bayless has someone to blame for that. On a recent episode of Undisputed, the controversial pundit fired shots at The King for his lack of defensive commitment.
Skip Bayless Says LeBron James' Only Motivation Is Breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Record
“LeBron has been different this year. He has gone from being a defender and the driving force of a team ranked number one in defensive efficiency to ranking 207th in defensive win shares," Bayless said. "They have plummeted to the middle of the pack on defense and it's really costing them.
"To me, LeBron’s sole focus has now gone to catching Kareem and resting on the defensive end," Bayless added. "LeBron will have his chase-down blocks occasionally and he'll have moment of defending but this team goes as he goes on both ends of the floor and I'm sorry but they just don't play defense. So if LeBron’s acting as GM, he should’ve pushed for fresh, young legs on defense, not Carmelo, Ariza, and Westbrick."
While Bayless may have a point in terms of LeBron not being a lockdown defender anymore, he may be ignoring the fact that he's a 37-year-old player on his 19th season. There's only so much he should do right now, yet he continues to play at an elite level.
The Lakers should know better than to put all their trust in a 37-year-old but that's just the way things go. In reality, the supporting cast should be taking pressure off James' shoulders rather than expecting him to do everything on both ends of the floor at this point in time.