The Los Angeles Lakers have not appeared in the NBA playoff in the five consecutive season, the team saw years of roster rebuilding pay off with the ultimate signing of LeBron James in the free agency period.
The three-time NBA champion LeBron James, entering his 16th year NBA career, was a precious gem for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the past seasons, starting in all 82 games and averaging nearly 37 minutes inside the court per matchup. It was the first time in the 14-time All-Star’s professional basketball career he played in 82 games.
The incredible durability of the 33-year-old Akron native LeBron James was further tested in the postseason, when he played in an additional 22 games while averaging a roughly 42 minutes.
Because of his age, the has been speculations swirling around the league that James could likely see a decrease in playing time in his first year with the Lakers.
During an “Evening with the Lakers” event at UCLA Health Training Center, Lakers head coach Luke Walton acknowledged that he will keep an open conversation with James throughout the entire 2018-19 season to decide how much rest he will get on any given game, via ESPN L.A. Radio:
“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. It’ll be an ongoing thing, a feel-out thing as the season is going as far as minutes and whether or not he’s going to take this game off or that game off.”
Now entering the momentum of his prime, it’s reasonable to anticipate that LeBron James’ playing minutes will marginally lessen with the Lakers this forthcoming 2018-19 NBA season. The rationale being to keep him vibrant, so he can preserve his current towering level of play for the duration of his four-year contract in Los Angeles.
Perhaps the Lakers coach will tactically provide James the majority of his break on the early portions, or during a favorable schedule, so he can take on a substantial amount of work in the event the Los Angeles makes it comeback to the playoffs.
Giving LeBron a rest will probably depends on the continued development of Lakers’ young core talents, to which LeBron James recently echoed his pleasure to play with.