Cleveland Cavaliers: Tyronn Lue must manage LeBron’s minutes wisely

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 30: Tyronn Lue and LeBron James
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 30: Tyronn Lue and LeBron James /

Among many other things, LeBron James is notorious for always being one of the league leaders in minutes played per game. At age 33, and in his fifteenth season, that is unfortunately still the case this year.

LeBron James is once again having an absolutely incredible season.

Number-wise, he’s averaging 27.0 points, 9.0 assists, and 8.4 rebounds. To put that into perspective, those are the most points he’s averaged since the 2013-14 season, the second most rebounds (8.7 last year), and the most assists since, ever. While he’s undoubtedly Top 2 in the MVP voting, he’s also top 2 in something else.

Minutes played per game.

According to ESPN, LeBron is playing 37.1 minutes per game, second to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 37.3. In addition, LeBron hasn’t taken any games off this season.

He has played in all 64 of the Cavaliers games this year. That comes as a surprise considering he, out of all people, knows that the NBA season is a marathon- not a sprint.

However, Tyronn Lue stated in February that he doesn’t anticipate he’ll be resting James anytime soon.

"According to ESPN: “I just think being the leader of this team, I don’t think he thinks he can take games off, because, you know, guys being hurt and going through a rough patch, and now new guys coming in,”More from King James Gospel3 possible starting lineups for Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023-24The Cavaliers may have snagged a hidden gem in Craig Porter Jr.4 players the Cavaliers should pursue in 2024 free agency6 players Cavaliers might replace Jarrett Allen with by the trade deadlineThis stat is one to keep an eye on for Cavaliers’ Max Strus in years ahead“So, I think he’s trying to lead and lead by example … I think we still got to be smart about the situation, but [the training staff] say he feels good.”"

In addition to Lue referencing his lack of want in resting James, LeBron also indicated he prefers to play all 82 games.

"“I told you I want to play every game,” James said. “If my health continues as it is right now, then that’s what it is.”"

Due to both Lue and LeBron’s identical stances on the matter, the coaching staff needs to find a solution to keeping James fresh, all while allowing him to play his desired amount of games.

Resting LeBron throughout games whenever possible is key.

The Cavs’ second unit is arguably one of the best in all of the NBA. Maintaining and even building leads is something we’ve seen them consistently do this season. The second unit is crucial in allowing James to lower his minutes and decrease his workload.

Furthermore, the Cavaliers need to take advantage of the upcoming games on their current road trip. The Cavs take on the Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and the Chicago Bulls throughout their next five games. Three of those teams are out of the playoff picture, while the Clippers are hanging on at the eighth seed.

The Cavs need to dominate these games early, thus allowing LeBron to rest more.

LeBron for his career averages 38.8 minutes per game. There’s no question that he can play hefty minutes while performing at an MVP level. However, if the Cavaliers want to capture another Larry O’Brien Trophy, they need LeBron to be refreshed; both mentally and physically.

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The Cavs need to know that, Tyronn Lue needs to know that, and most importantly LeBron needs to know that.