"Definitely, I'll be watching it if we're not in there, and it looks like our chances are slim to none after each and every game, and so many teams in the West are playing well," James said after Tuesday's 123-107 road win over the Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "So you try to get better, but this won't be the last time I'll be in the postseason."
James is correct. The Lakers' odds are dire. As of March 13, FiveThirtyEight gives the eighth-seed Utah Jazz a better chance of winning the 2019 title (1 percent) than the Lakers have of merely reaching the postseason (less than 0.1 percent). ESPN's BPI Playoff Odds also pegs the team's chances of making the playoffs at less than 0.1 percent.
For James, it would be the first time since 2005 he hasn't advanced to the conference semifinals at the minimum, let alone miss the playoffs. The Miami Heat from 2011-14 and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2015-18 reached the Finals in each of the past eight seasons.
Sporting a 31-36 record with 15 games to play and sitting 6.5 games behind the Jazz for the final postseason berth in the Western Conference, the Lakers are quickly running out of time.
"Obviously, I would love for the team to be in the postseason," James said. "Even if I'm not a part of it, the postseason I've always loved. But right now, it's not the hand I was dealt, so you play the hand that you were dealt until the dealer shuffles the cards and you're dealt another hand and can do that."