The Cleveland Cavaliers have gotten off to a 7-7 start, but Draymond Green thinks fans should be worried about LeBron James‘ minutes.
After beating the New York Knicks on Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers improved their record to 7-7, but many fans and people outside of the organization are concerned about how the team is playing. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green wants you to throw those to the side, and instead focus your attention on LeBron James.
During an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick, Green said that he believes people should be worried about the number of minutes James is playing:
“To a certain extent yes. And to a certain extent, no. I don’t think anyone should be panicking 12 games in, or 13 games in. However, there are some glaring concerns with them. And at the same time, you’re missing a 30-point (per game) player (in Thomas) on the bench who’s hurt. So my concern would be that LeBron is playing so many minutes right now (James, in his 15th season, is leading the league in minutes at 38.1 per game; it’s his highest mark since the 2010-11 season).
“Yeah, he’s super human but eventually his super human powers go away, so that would be more of my concern if I’m a Cavs fan or somebody with the Cavs or a player, is like ‘Man, he’s been playing a lot of 40 minute (nights) and it’s only Nov. 12.’ But I wouldn’t be pressing the panic button just yet. At the end of the day, they know how to win. They’ve got a guy who knows how to win, so I wouldn’t necessarily press the panic button. I would see certain things and I would panic about those certain things, just because…I don’t think nobody should be playing 40 minutes a game in November (James has played 40-plus minutes in six of his 14 games).”
James turns 33 in December and is having arguably the best season of his career. He’s averaging up 28.1 points, 8.8 assists and 7.6 rebounds a night. In addition to leading the NBA in minutes, James also has six games with 40 or more minutes played, second to Anthony Davis‘ seven. As Green alluded to, it’s almost necessary for LeBron to maintain this load because of how depleted the Cavaliers are.
Losing Kyrie Irving was questionable, but Isaiah Thomas isn’t a scrub, and his ability to create is second-to-none. However, the best ability is availability. We don’t know when Thomas is coming back, and, unfortunately, James won’t be able to rest until that happens. According to Basketball Reference, Cleveland’s offensive rating is 14.3 points worse when LeBron goes to the bench (113.3 to 99.0). There’s also their defense, which should be everyone’s concern. That’s a whole different topic (and you can read about it here).
The Cavaliers can’t afford to have LeBron James off the floor. It’s as simple as that. Once Thomas gets healthy, the load won’t be as grand. That’s still months away, though.
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