The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t gotten off to the kind of start to the season many predicted they would, and now LeBron James seems convinced him playing less may give them their best chance.
I wouldn’t mind it,” James told ESPN of the idea of him, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love all playing less minutes. Currently, each of them averages at least 37 minutes a game, placing all of them among the league’s top 5 in that category.
“For me, I don’t want to do that all year,” James added. “Obviously right now it’s difficult because we’re trying to find a groove, we’re trying to find a rhythm and we’re trying to implement something that you don’t want to shortcut it, but at the same time you want to be smart about it. So, I don’t mind giving a few of my minutes up just to help the team, to help my minutes go down. I think it would be for the best.”
Early in the preseason rookie coach David Blatt seemed open to the prospect of playing James less than what has become the custom over his career. Blatt told reporters “39 minutes is a lot,” adding “we got to keep our wits about us in terms of thinking long term with LeBron.”
After a 1-3 start, the Cavs have rallied to win four of their last five, with James (27.1), Irving (22.1) and Love (17.4) all averaging at least 17 points. But it’s been at a cost. The Cleveland bench averages just 23.9 points per game, placing the team second to last in the league in that department.
“I really think that it might be a good idea for our guys to play some shorter stretches harder rather than longer stretches,” James said. “And we’re going to see how we can incorporate that philosophy.”[Photo credit: Keith Allison]