Last season, LeBron James single-handedly carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. For the first time in his NBA career, the 33-year-old small forward played 82 games in the regular season where he averaged 36.9 minutes. He was forced to increase his playing time in the postseason where he averaged nearly 42 minutes per game.
At 33, LeBron James shows no sign of slowing down, but he is still a human. Now that he is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, most people expect James to have a reduction in minutes in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Per Lakers Nation, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton said that he wants to maintain “constant communication” with James regarding his playing time, especially when he needs to take a game off for rest. Walton added that they are aiming to compete every single year that the best basketball player on the planet is on their team.
“We’ve talked about the idea of it, and I’ll be in constant communication with him all year long. 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. We 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.”
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) September 9, 2018
Giving LeBron James a time to rest during the regular season is a must for the Lakers, especially if they want to have the best version of him when the real battle begins in the Western Conference Playoffs. Despite earning plenty of criticisms with some of their offseason moves, the Lakers’ acquisition of Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson is expected to ease the load on LeBron’s shoulders in terms of playmaking.
Though they failed to acquire another superstar to pair with James, the Lakers are very confident that they have what it takes to win an NBA championship title next season. In the upcoming training camp, the Lakers’ main goal is to build a good chemistry and try to figure out the players who will be joining LeBron James in the starting lineup.
Most Lakers fans are surely excited to see how the young core of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart will perform playing alongside James. The 2018-19 NBA season will also prove if the Lakers made the right decision to sign Rondo, Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley in the recent free agency.