NBA: Coach Lue defends LeBron’s heavy minutes
After struggling in the early part of the 2017-2018 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are finally getting their groove back, winning its last five straight games.
The sudden surge in victories can be attributed to a total team effort, but still in large part due to the herculean efforts of LeBron James, who is currently leading the league in minutes per game, at 37.9 per contest.
With “The King” set to turn 33 next month, both fans and pundits alike have expressed concern over LeBron’s heavy usage rate.
But Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue remains unfazed, claiming that James’ hefty workload is at par with some of the NBA’s all-time greats.
“I hear about that all the time,” Lue described the comments regarding LeBron’s minutes to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“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 (Bryant). Everybody’s built different. If you’re one of the greats, sometimes you’ve got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight,” he explained.
Playing above 30 minutes per game isn’t unusual for most NBA stars, but the distinction is usually given to players in their 20s.
The stakes are even higher for the extremely durable LeBron, who has already logged on 1,078 regular season games and 217 playoff appearances through his career.
James, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to mind the extended playing time at all, as long as his team wins.
“You make so much a big thing about my minutes,” James said after the team’s blowout win against the Detroit Pistons. “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.” Khristian Ibarrola /ra