Tryonn Lue: Cavs intend to ‘tailor’ down LeBron James’ minutes
The Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night lost for only the second time this season, going down by a score of 103-93 to the Indiana Pacers. But what made the loss particularly notable is it came with LeBron James sitting for the first time this season.
According to Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue, the decision to hold the superstar out is part of a larger plan put in play as a result of discussions between himself, James and Mike Mancias, James’ personal trainer.
In fact, Lue indicated the Cavaliers will become increasingly more cognizant of the minutes James is playing as the season progresses, primarily to make sure James is fresh and rested for the postseason.
“Those are the minutes that me, him, and Mike Mancias talked about,” Lue said, via Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “We wanted to get him low, but he said he wanted to ramp him up early and then kind of tailor him down in January, you know February, (around) our All-Star break.”
As noted in Vardon’s report, James is averaging 37 minutes a game this season, 90 seconds more than the 31-year-old averaged last season. And given James will turn 32 in December, it’s worth highlighting that he’s logged an incredible amount of minutes — 47,231 — in his 13-plus NBA career. Going to the Finals six consecutive seasons will have that impact.
Despite sitting James Wednesday night, Lue indicated James’ minutes are right in the desired sweet spot, between 36 and 38 minutes per game.
The notion that the Cavaliers are working in concert with James and his personal trainer to initiate a plan to rest the superstar makes perfect sense. So long as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and company can compensate for James’ productivity and performance on both ends of the court when he logs less minutes in games or sits out altogether, the team will be fine … even if the first time James sat this season ended with a loss.
After all, it’s best to keep James healthy and fresh, thereby avoiding the need for a repeat of the two-week hiatus he needed during the 2014-15 season.