Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James may seem like a super human at times, but the truth is that he ages like everyone else. It is quite likely that the Lakers are getting him at the end of his prime rather than at the beginning.
James, 33, played in every single one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 82 regular-season games last season, but Lakers fans shouldn’t expect the same kind of usage this season.
According to Lakers head coach Luke Walton, James’ minutes will be closely monitored in his first season in Los Angeles. Walton broke down how he will manage James’ minutes when he made an appearance on ESPN 710’s “An Evening with the Lakers.”
“We’ve talked about the idea of it (James sitting out some games) and I’ll be in constant communication with him all year long,” Walton said. “If it’s a night off, if it’s a back-to-back, whatever it is. If it’s practice, preferably if he’s going to take something off, take a practice off to stay fresh.
“But we’ve got him here for four years, and we want to be competing every single year that he’s here. If we do play him less minutes or he gets a night off, that’s a great opportunity for other players, some of the young guys so it’ll be an ongoing thing, a feel out thing as far as minutes or whether he’s going to take this game off or that game off.”
So far in his career, James has been able to buck the trends regarding the drop-off in production that comes with age. In fact, his 2017-18 campaign was one of the most prolific in his already incredible career.
James averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists, and 8.6 rebounds last season. However, that does not mean that he will be able to maintain that kind of production forever.
Managing the four-time MVP’s minutes could certainly be a way to make sure that when he does take the court, he is fresh and ready to dominate.
James signed a four-year, $153.3 million contract back in July and it seems clear that the Lakers intend to help James sustain his prime as long as he can. With all the young talent that already exists on the Lakers’ current roster, that shouldn’t be too hard.