The Los Angeles Lakers ought to be careful with how many minutes LeBron James plays.
The Los Angeles Lakers are just over two months removed from winning the NBA Championship and are already geared up and back in action to defend their crown as the champions of the world.
The hiatus during the 2019-20 season had a domino effect on the 2020-21 season as the NBA is going through the shortest offseason in American sports history and is only playing a 72-game season as opposed to an 82-game season.
Such a quick turnaround has created a challenge for Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Lakers. The team’s superstar, LeBron James, is not necessarily the youngest superstar in the league and handling his minutes will be an important facet of this season.
LeBron turns 36 on December 30. And while he is a freak of nature and is in better shape than any other 36-year-old on this planet, the Lakers still need to be cautious to make sure he is 100% for when the games really matter in the NBA Playoffs.
Don’t be shocked if the Lakers take up a load management strategy, even if the league is doing its best to keep load management from happening. I would expect LeBron to play, at most, around 60 of the 72 regular-season game and play fewer minutes per game than he ever has in his career.
Someone has to take up these minutes, though, especially early in the season as the Lakers slowly ramp him back up into his normal workload. Here are the three candidates who could benefit the most from LeBron likely getting a reduced workload.