LeBron James is now in his 16th NBA season and coming off one in which he played all 82 games for the first time in his career. So when James signed the Los Angeles Lakers who then did not add a second star, the amount of games and minutes he will play became a topic of conversation.
In James’ final two years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he averaged 37.8 and 36.9 minutes per game. And while the Lakers would like for him to be able to get more rest, the Cavaliers needed him to get those minutes in order to succeed.
The hope is, at least according to head coach Luke Walton, that the Lakers can be successful enough to keep James’ minutes per game at a “reasonable number.”
James, however, doesn’t necessarily want that to be the case. And if the 33-year-old has proved anything, it’s that he may have gotten better with age. James feels this way too, saying that he improves with the more he plays, via ESPN:
“All my coaches want to figure out a way how to lessen my minutes. I keep telling them I’m stronger when I play more minutes but they won’t listen to me. It’s OK. I like it.”
How many minutes James averages will obviously become a dialogue between him and Walton as the season goes on. And, of course, his minutes will change depending on the Lakers success at any given point.
The ideal situation is that the Lakers can play well enough with him off the floor to be able to preserve James and keep him in his best possible shape throughout his four-year tenure with the team.
Of course, if the Lakers need him, he will play as many minutes as asked of him. Him playing 37 minutes in the season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers may be a good indication of what can be expected moving forward.
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