With the recent struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers, many people are quickly trying to figure out who to blame. The team is currently three games away from the San Antonio Spurs for an NBA Playoffs spot. Despite NBA star LeBron James saying that he activated "playoffs mode," some people feel that maybe the King isn't his usual self. That could be due to health issues, as his groin injury suffered back on Christmas Day sidelined him 17 games. Recently, one of LeBron's former opponents, Paul Pierce, weighed in on what the Lakers need to do about the situation.

Paul Pierce gives Lakers tough advice for LeBron

A few days ago, the LA Lakers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, giving them a 1-3 record over their past four games. It's far from what some Lakers fans consider "playoffs mode" and a LeBron Instagram post drew some backlash over his individual accomplishments. LeBron has repeatedly insisted that he's doing fine health-wise and even participated in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game recently. However, some analysts, fans, and commentators feel that he's nowhere near 100 percent, and maybe shouldn't be playing.

Bring in a former Boston Celtics star who is among those recent LeBron and Lakers critics. Rachel Nichols, Tracy McGrady, and Paul Pierce spoke about the situation on ESPN's "The Jump." McGrady suggested the "chemistry is just not back" and "I don't see the urgency in them." He doesn't expect the Lakers to make the playoffs. Pierce agreed with that notion adding, "If I were the Lakers I would shut LeBron down." Pierce also mentioned, "He has to do too much for them to win" at this point in the season and even then, they aren't winning.

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McGrady also brought up the fact that this Lakers team was a contender as of Christmas Day. When they defeated Golden State in the game LeBron left due to his injury, the team was among the top four in the West. That's no longer the case. Still, Rachel Nichols was surprised that Pierce would stop the playoff push so soon.

Paul Pierce continued to defend his viewpoint despite surprised reactions from both Nichols and McGrady. He spoke about the Lakers having a short window with LeBron in which they can win titles, so they shouldn't put more "wear and tear" on their top star. Especially ahead of signing another star or two to pair with him.

Lakers' season outlook, playoffs chances

The Los Angeles Lakers are back at it again hosting the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. Ironically, that's the team that features Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers made trade offers for before the deadline. Davis is still in their future plans, but that may not happen until he's a free agent next summer.

Meanwhile, as long as LeBron James is on the court, and if they can get back a healthy Lonzo Ball, this team could still make a push.

Three games is not an insurmountable amount and the teams just above them haven't necessarily been racking up wins as easily either. Right now, the Lakers are 29-31 overall. Just above them are the Timberwolves (29-31) and Kings (31-29) both fighting for playoff spots as well. The Spurs hold the eight spot with the LA Clippers (34-28) currently at No. 7 in the West.

The positive is there's always next season to build upon with LeBron and another star. If the Lakers do decide to shut LeBron down soon, he'll be able to rest up and use his talents to film scenes for "Space Jam 2."

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