One of the strategies we’ve seen employed in recent years by teams with superstars is that coaches are opting to rest players every now and again to keep them fresh for the long haul. In contrast to that, heading into the home stretch, LeBron James ranks No. 3 in the NBA in terms of minutes per game.
He’s also played in every single one of Cleveland’s 58 games. This is normal behavior for the 33-year-old veteran, who never takes games off. Based on what Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said on this topic, that’s not about to change, either.
“I just think being the leader of this team, I don’t think he thinks he can take games off, because, you know, guys being hurt and going through a rough patch, and now new guys coming in,” Lue said before the Cavs’ 112-89 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “So, I think he’s trying to lead and lead by example … I think we still got to be smart about the situation, but [the training staff] say he feels good.”
At some point, logic dictates that James will have to slow down. After all, including all the international play he’s put in the past decade, he’s played more basketball than pretty much anyone on the face of planet Earth. At this point, however, his fitness, stamina and desire to be the best keeps driving him to grind through it all.
And now that Cleveland is back in business with a revamped roster that looks capable of winning the east, James will likely only grind all the harder through the end of this season.
It’s also been reported that James could very well stay on in Cleveland next year, rather than bounce in free agency. Another title for the Cavs will likely have a big impact on that decision, so it’s going to be fascinating to see what transpires in the coming months.