LeBron James

USA Today

Time To Limit LeBron’s Minutes

Easiest decision ever.

March 08, 2019 - 10:34 am

The Lakers are shutting down LeBron. Not completely, but Luke Walton said "I will be monitoring his workload from here on out” And by monitoring his workload, what we’re really talking about is some form of a minutes restriction.

And I know that news might really piss off some of you dopes who believe that buying a ticket means that LeBron owes it to you to be run into the ground, but that take is moronic. For who? For what? As a punishment? Or so that people who bought tickets to a Nets-Lakers game in March can see him?

That’s just dumb. The only thing more embarrassing than missing the playoffs this year would be missing the playoffs next year because LeBron played useless minutes in useless games at the end of this season.

The details from Chris Haynes are that for the rest of the season, LeBron will play somewhere between 28 and 32 minutes, and depending on how he feels, he might sit the second game of back-to-backs. 

Perfect. Great. Makes sense. I brought it up on Tuesday after the loss to the Clippers that pretty much ended the season. Now that the season is over in the first week in March, resting LeBron is the logical next step. 

Initially, LeBron wasn’t a fan of the idea. "That would take a lot of convincing from Luke [Walton] on up. Unless I'm hurt, I'm not sitting games."

I get it. He’s a competitor and I know how much pride he takes in being there every night. This is one of the most durable players in the NBA. 

He led the league in minutes per game last season and the season before that. I repeat: in his 14th and 15th seasons he led the league in minutes per game. And last year, he played all 82 games. He didn’t just lead the league in minutes per game, he led the league in total minutes. That is insane. 

And that’s before we get to the playoffs, where he’s played nearly three more full seasons worth of games and averages 42 minutes per game. And it’s before we get into the pace of play at points this season, which means the minutes are even more punishing. 

This is a guy who has a ton of miles on him. The fact that he’s still playing at this level at this point in his career with all that mileage is ridiculous. And the only thing more ridiculous than that would be to keep running him out there for absolutely meaningless games. 

What I’m saying is that they have to limit him. Not only does it rest LeBron and reduce the risk of injury this season, but it also reduces their chances of winning down the stretch, so they keep increasing their chances in the lottery. 

Because now Laker fans are back to caring about the lottery. Now the lottery is the only thing that matters. Because the best case scenario is Zion and the second-best case scenario is a better pick to include for Anthony Davis. Suddenly, lose-lose becomes win-win.  

Oh, and speaking of Anthony Davis, how bizarre is it that according to reports, the Pelicans would like nothing better than to shut him down and Davis would like nothing better than to be shut down, but the league has made it clear that he has to keep playing?

So the Pelicans have to play a guy they don’t want to play and who doesn’t want to play for him, while the Lakers are shutting down a guy they do want to play and who does want to play for them. NBA action, it’s fan-tastic!

But back to LeBron. I have absolutely no problem with the Lakers monitoring his workload or limiting his minutes. If anything, my problem is that it’s not enough. Don’t monitor his workload or limit his minutes, shut him down. Why put him out there for even 28 minutes in games that don’t matter? Again. For who? For what?  Bob in L.A.?  Or someone else who bought a ticket and is pissed they’re not going to LeBron play in a game that doesn’t matter in a lost season. And don’t tell me all games matters. Because these don’t. They’ll only matter if you run this guy out there and he gets hurt again, and wastes an entire season like this one.

I know he wants to be out there, but really, what’s the point? The only possible outcomes are bad. Either they win games they don’t want to win or he gets more miles and possibly injured. And the worst scenario is both winning games and he gets injured. Shut him down, let’s go home. Easiest decision ever.