Tyronn Lue wants you to stop worrying about LeBron James.
The Cleveland Cavaliers coach frequently has been criticized this season for his handling of James, who currently leads the NBA with an average of 37.9 minutes played per game. Cleveland can ill-afford a worn-out James come playoff time, but Lue clearly isn’t concerned about overworking his star player.
“Yeah, I hear about that all the time,” Lue said, as transcribed by Cleveland.com. “I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39 he played 37 minutes a night. Karl Malone was 37, played 38 minutes a night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe (Bryant). Everybody’s built different. If you’re one of the greats, sometimes you’ve got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight.”
The fact of the matter is, the Cavs have needed James to log a high level of minutes this season. Cleveland hasn’t had the luxury of rewarding its starters with rest, as 11 of its 17 games have been decided by 10 points or less. James received a much-needed break Monday, though, as he only played 27 minutes in the Cavs’ 116-88 rout of the Detroit Pistons.
Cleveland currently is riding a five-game win streak, so if it continues to rack up the victories, maybe James will start seeing more rest. If not, Lue will play his best player as much as he sees fit, and he won’t care what you have to say about it.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images