Lakers: 3 reasons this weird season helps LeBron James now and later

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /

3. The hiatus will give LeBron James some much-needed rest

LeBron James is 35 years of age, and he’s less than five months away from turning 36.

Just like with cars, it’s not so much the age, but the mileage. James has logged 48,329 minutes so far in his career, which is eighth all-time.

If he plays every game next season, he’ll be in position to move past Dirk Nowitzki early in the 2021-22 season into second place for career minutes played.

Then there’s all the playoff minutes the four-time MVP has played —10,049 to be exact, which is the most of anyone who has ever touched a basketball.

James is one of the two or three greatest physical specimens to ever play the sport, but he is also a human being (at least as far as we can tell). That means that at some point, the wear and tear will accumulate, and the compound effect will render him a fraction of what he is now.

To delay that inevitable occurrence, everyone has been talking about “load management” for James ever since he joined the Purple and Gold. It hasn’t really happened in terms of him sitting out games, so it will have to happen in other ways.

Having about four and a half months off during this hiatus translates to a full offseason after reaching the conference finals. This has given him a chance to rest and regenerate energy and vitality, not to mention allow his sore groin to heal.

If the Lakers reach the NBA Finals, James will have another few weeks to rest up before training camp is scheduled to begin for next season. After two and a half months of basketball, that should be enough time to rest and recuperate again.

This could all lead to James looking about the same physically next season as he has this season. That means we could see yet another MVP-caliber campaign from the Akron, Ohio native.

Beyond that, maybe it will buy him one additional season of elite or near-elite basketball, which would translate into another season of championship-caliber basketball for the Lakers.