Los Angeles Lakers: Is it time for LeBron James to consider load management?

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

As the Los Angeles Lakers approach the halfway mark of the season, should LeBron James consider load management?

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James keeps shifting what we know to be true about player performance.

Before the season began, we thought that LeBron James, a player heading into his 17th season, had to decline. Everyone connected to the NBA believed that players must slow down as they get older.

An athlete in his mid-30’s can no longer be a two-way force. He must conserve energy on defense so that he can still perform at a decent level on offense. There’s no way a player with over 50,000 minutes of NBA action can operate like an MVP.

Last season was a disaster for LeBron James and the Lakers. LBJ missed 27 games, and when he came back, he was slow and heavy-footed, “The King” looked human for the first time in his career. James couldn’t drag the Lakers into the playoffs, a feat unthinkable before the season began.

As 2018 slowly turned into 2019, the vultures started to circle, and folks across the association began to discuss who was going to replace LeBron as the best player in the NBA; most people thought it would be Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Over the summer, LeBron James took in all the criticism and let it swirl around in his brain. First, it enraged him. Then he used it as motivation. James pushed back against all the naysayers, and he went into beast mode as he trained to regain his conditioning and fast-twitch muscle movement.

Now the Lakers have a comfortable lead in the Western Conference, and LeBron James is once again the best player in the NBA. James leads the league in assists and is ninth in points per game. And just in case there was any doubt about who is the top dog in the NBA, LBJ’s real plus-minus rating of 10.44 crushes that of second-place Giannis Antetokounmpo (7.60).

LeBron’s proved his point. LBJ can delete his #WashedKing hashtag because no one doubts him anymore.

Now that LeBron’s regained his crown and the Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference, the question is: Should James start load management during the second half of the season?

Up next, we’ll look at the pros and cons of LeBron James resting and then decide if he should start to take games off strategically.