Set to turn 38 years old and in his 20th NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James continues to defy all expectations with his performance this season. Unfortunately for the Lakers and head coach Darvin Ham, it is not leading to the team results they want.
In the Lakers’ 14-point loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, LeBron again led the team with 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists. He also led the Lakers with six turnovers, however, a major catalyst in the Lakers being unable to come away with a victory.
The team has obviously struggled without Anthony Davis in the lineup, and another fallout to the big man being injured is the increased workload placed on LeBron. Ideally the Lakers would be able to lessen some of the load on James and get him more rest, but without Davis, his presence on the court is even more important. And with the team struggling, head coach Darvin Ham says LeBron won’t allow himself to take on fewer minutes, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“He’s a fierce, fierce competitor,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after the loss in Miami. “The team, we’re having our ups and downs right now. We’re on the wrong side of the win-loss column. So he’s not going to allow himself to be taken out of the mix. He does as great of a job as I’ve seen ever of making himself available and being able to produce physically at an extremely high level.”
It is a difficult conundrum for Ham and the Lakers coaching staff to be in. They would certainly love to pace LeBron out more through this season and give him more time to rest. But the Lakers’ best chance at victory without Davis is for James to take control and dominate, and the now 38-year-old has made it clear that he is all about winning even at this stage of his career.
This current roster simply isn’t built to thrive without LeBron on the court for long stretches of time and, to his credit, James has been delivering for the most part. James’ minutes are down from 37.2 last year to 35.7 per game this season. But that competitive fire simply won’t allow him to take more breaks as long as the Lakers continue to struggle.
LeBron James expresses desire to win and compete for championships
It does not matter what stage LeBron James is at in his career, the Lakers superstar always has his mind on competing and winning at the highest level. That has not changed in his 20th NBA season as he celebrates 38th birthday.
LeBron stressed that he is a winner and wants to win and compete for championships as long as he is playing and that will always be his goal. He also noted that as long as he is mentally locked in, he knows he will continue to put in the work physically to keep performing at a high level.
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