While it may seem like Father Time is catching up to LeBron James, the truth of the matter is the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is still one of the best players in the NBA when he is on the court.
Availability has been an issue for James, who has dealt with a couple of ailments, plus missed additional time due to a suspension and being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The recent mishap with his false positive was a frustrating situation for James, who was eventually cleared to return, but at least the forward will be available going forward.
With the Lakers struggling to string together wins throughout the 2021-22 season, head coach Frank Vogel might have no choice but to ride James more than he would like to during the season. However, James’ workload is always an area of concern and Vogel admitted that he and the rest of the staff are keeping an eye on it.
“We’re always monitoring his load and just being intelligent with it,” Vogel said. “Obviously, the overtime games are what they are. He’s going to be in there for those. Like you said, he has missed some time. The totality is less of a concern than if you played a triple-overtime game and you played the next night. You exercise caution in those instances. It’s just something that literally we monitor on a daily basis. We rely on the medical team and feedback from how he’s feeling and make smart decisions.”
James is set to turn 37 years old at the end of the month and with how many games and minutes he has played in recent years, it makes sense why Los Angeles wants to be as mindful as possible about his workload. However, they might not have that luxury given they have been hovering around .500 and are about to hit a tough stretch in their schedule.
Even though the Lakers have two other superstars in Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, they will only go as far as James can take them. Hopefully the injuries and other situations are behind James and he can focus on finding his playing rhythm.
James admits being out of lineup has affected rhythm
James has been unable to consistently stay on the floor this season and that has prevented him from really getting into a groove so far. James even admitted that the start-and-stop nature has disrupted his game rhythm and called it a challenging season so far.
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