LeBron James, Tyronn Lue dismiss notion Cavs star is playing too much
LeBron James and Tryonn Lue on Monday night both dismissed the notion the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar is playing too many minutes early on this season. The Cavs head coach admitted to growing tired of hearing about the issue.
“Yeah, I hear about that all the time,” Lue said, via Cleveland.com. “I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39 he played 37 minutes a night. Karl Malone was 37, played 38 minutes a night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe. Everybody’s built different. If you’re one of the greats, sometimes you’ve got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight.”
James essentially echoed Lue’s sentiments, downplaying any concern logging so many minutes with so much basketball left to play this season could come back to haunt the 32-year-old. After all, it’s not just the big minutes during the regular season for James that poses a problem. Going to seven consecutive NBA Finals means James has easily played more basketball than any other player during that time.
“You make so much a big thing about my minutes,” James said. “It’s not a huge issue. But at the end of the day, when we can get a win like this, everybody benefits from it. Not just me. Everybody.”
The situation surrounding James’ minutes this season became a talking point last week when Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, a James’ pal, expressed concern over the issue. James admitted he tends to agree with Green, saying last week, “Draymond’s right. We want to get those minutes down for sure.”
James went on to mention that the injury bug that has bitten the Cavaliers has necessitated him logging big minutes. James insisted the return of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose and Tristan Thompson will ideally foster an environment where he won’t have to play as much.
That said, James did play a season-low 27 minutes in Monday’s 116-88 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Still, despite sitting with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter of the relatively easy win, James still leads the NBA by averaging 37.9 minutes per game.