The 2020-21 NBA season is quickly approaching, which means the Los Angeles Lakers will soon need to find ways to keep LeBron James fresh throughout the year.
The Lakers are currently in the midst of training camp but will play the L.A. Clippers on Friday to begin their preseason schedule. James should see little action in the game, but his minutes to begin the season will likely be shortened as some health officials believe stars will look to rest.
Load management has been a topic of debate in recent years, but will be a necessity for most teams as they look to protect their players. James himself noted that he will again lean on the coaching staff throughout the regular season when it comes to rest.
“I’ve always listened to my coaches,” James said. “We had the same thing last year when the coaching staff got here. We’re going to be as smart as we can be on making sure my body and I’m ready. Obviously every game matters. We’re competing for something that’s high, so we don’t ever want to shortchange our stuff.
“For me personally, it’s always a fine line. Understanding with the shortened offseason — I think 71 days, the shortest offseason for any professional sport ever — so we’re very conscientious about what we do going forward.”
Head coach Frank Vogel revealed he and James have already begun to discuss ideas, but admitted any plans will depend on how James feels. “We’re both sort of of the mindset of let’s just see how it plays out and evaluate each day, each week how he’s feeling and not lock into any set plan,” Vogel explained.
Fortunately for the Lakers, the roster is deep enough to where James can afford to play a little less while still able to keep pace in a tough Western Conference.
Vogel focused on making sure Lakers healthy come start of playoffs
For a veteran team with championship aspirations, the regular season is not as important as it is to others. Vogel emphasized that making sure the Lakers are healthy going into the postseason is of particular importance this year.
“There’s no doubt the goal every year — but in particular this year — is to make sure we’re healthy and whole going into the playoffs,” Vogel said.
“That’s not to say we’re going to take the regular season lightly in any way. The guys that are on the floor are going to compete. We created the identity of playing harder than our opponent every night, but our goal is definitely to make sure we’re healthy come playoff time.”
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