Tag: Miami Heat

LeBron James

Cavs coach David Blatt says LeBron James will play reduced minutes this season


LeBron James has played a lot of basketball in his 11-year career. Between those 11 seasons, a career’s worth of playoffs (including four straight trips to the Finals with the Miami Heat), and the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics with Team USA, the four-time MVP’s mileage far exceeds his years in the NBA.

That’s going to change, according to his new head coach in Cleveland, David Blatt.

From Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon:

“I don’t have a number but I am cognizant of the fact and we are conscious of the fact that, certainly early on 39 minutes a game is a lot,” Blatt said following practice Sunday. “We gotta keep our wits about us in terms of thinking long term with LeBron.”

Blatt is right: 39 minutes per game for the 29-year-old James is a lot. He’s been among the leaders in minutes played for most of his career. Last year with the Heat, he averaged 37.7 minutes per game, the sixth-most in the league. In 2012-13, he averaged 37.9 minutes, the eighth-highest total. In his initial seven-year stint with the Cavaliers before leaving for Miami, he exceeded 40 minutes per game in four different seasons, and 39 in two more. And that’s just regular-season minutes, before you even get to the playoffs, where James has played at least 40 minutes a game in all but the most recent of his nine career trips to the postseason.

In the past, James has played that many minutes out of necessity. None of his Cavaliers teams had much depth, and all four Heat teams dealt with injuries throughout his tenure there. Last season, he took on a heavy load while Dwyane Wade took frequent rest days in an attempt to keep him fresh for the playoffs. As the greatest player in the world in the prime of his career, and an overall physical freak, it was only logical that James played as many minutes as he could handle.

Now, though, as he prepares to hit his 30th birthday, his new team is wisely realizing that it needs to be more conservative. Blatt has already said that James will get more days off during the regular season (he’s never missed more than seven games in any year). Given how successful the San Antonio Spurs have been in extending the primes of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker by reducing their minutes and giving them days off, it’s not a surprise that the Cavs are following suit with James. They have the depth to allow it.

There are going to be nights where James doesn’t play, or doesn’t play that much. But if reducing his minutes from 38 to 32 extends his prime another couple of seasons, everybody wins.

Top 10 plays of the 2014 preseason’s final day (VIDEO)

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
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We’re just three short days from the start of regular season NBA action, so now that the preseason is finished, it’s worth looking back on the top plays from its final day of action.

While the order of ranking will come down to personal preference (i.e., I thought one of the better plays was at eight, which featured Khem Birch’s block and James Ennis’ finish), there’s plenty here to enjoy as we await Tuesday night’s festivities.

67RIEFNS No. 32: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh leading a team without LeBron

2014 NBA Finals - Game Two

The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

On July 7, 2010, Dwyane Wade found his post-Shaq sidekick.

That day, Wade committed to resigning with the Heat and Chris Bosh pledge to join Miami either through a direct signing or sign-and-trade. It was one of the biggest free coups of recent memory, one that could set up the Heat to contend for a championship.

The next day, LeBron James changed everything.

LeBron’s Decision ended “Wade and Bosh” after only one day. From there, it was always “LeBron, Wade an Bosh” or “LeBron and Wade” or occasionally “LeBron.”

It’s a testament to LeBron’s greatness that he could dwarf the importance of Wade (a Finals MVP and 10-time All-Star) and Bosh (a nine-time All-Star).

Four years later, we’ll finally see what a Wade-Bosh-led team can do.

Unfortunately, we might have missed out entirely on seeing the twosome – without LeBron – in their primes. Instead of the Wade-Bosh era beginning with Wade at age 28 and Bosh 26, Wade is 32 and Bosh 30. It might be too late.

And that’s a shame.

Wade and Bosh were so good, capable of carrying the load when they were the No. 1 option. With LeBron, their numbers dipped.

These lines represent the change in their PER.

  • Wade: Red (before playing with LeBron) and Gold (with LeBron)
  • Bosh: Purple (with Raptors) and Gold (with Heat)


How much of that decline is the LeBron influence, and how much is aging?

I hope it’s LeBron, because a team led by prime Wade and Bosh could be very good – effective inside and out on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, I fear aging plays a big role, especially for Wade.

If Wade and Bosh can near their previous peaks, great. We’ll have another fun team to watch and a potential Eastern Conference contender.

If not, we’ll get two aging stars stubbornly fighting Father Time and adapting to a new style of play. That’s compelling, though far less appealing.

Wade and Bosh will provide some form of entertainment this season. I’m pulling for the they’re-still-really-good kind.