LeBron James has a lot of miles on his legs, and he took on quite the burden last postseason in leading a short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers squad to the NBA Finals. This upcoming season, James is looking forward to working with head coach David Blatt about reducing his workload, according to Marla Ridenour for the Akron Beacon Journal:
“I think that’s a coach-Blatt-and-myself conversation, we haven’t quite got there yet,” James said of his minutes Monday during Cavs Media Day at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “I’m very hard-headed because I love to play so much. But I think what we have, I don’t need to be as hard-headed. I’m going to be very smart with how many minutes I play per game and what I’m doing out there on the floor. I think we have enough pieces and I think Kevin Love will allow me to sit a lot this year just because of his abilities, what he’s able to do, Kyrie (Irving) as well, so I won’t have to worry about playing big minutes.”
LeBron actually played the lowest minutes per game of his career last regular season (36.1), although he was generally playing big minutes at the start of the year when the Cavaliers were struggling. When the team added more depth and began blowing teams out on a regular basis, those numbers went down before a grueling postseason run that featured James playing over 42 minutes per game and doing almost everything for the banged-up Cavaliers.
LeBron also said Monday that he could’ve used a couple more months off, especially after a September in which he put the pedal to the metal in terms of workouts. We saw James go on a bit of a “sabbatical” last season to nurse some nagging injuries, and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see something like that again this upcoming season.
The regular season doesn’t really matter to the Cavaliers, and they’ll surely be careful with all of their stars. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are still working their way back from injuries, so their minutes will be watched as well. Irving also talked about changing his game a bit in order to stay healthy, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Keeping James and Co. healthy and fresh for the postseason is of the utmost importance, and if that happens, expect Cleveland to be in the Finals once again.