LeBron James is entering his 15th year in the NBA this season, and so far, his 2017-18 campaign may be one of the worst we've seen out of his illustrious career.
His Cleveland Cavaliers currently sit at .500 on a 7-7 record, good for 9th in the Eastern Conference. We've never seen a LeBron-led team struggle this much since James' first few years in the league.
It seems like playing 37+ minutes a night for 15 straight years out of high school may just be beginning to take it's toll on LeBron's body, as ridiculous as that sounds, and one of James' biggest rivals Draymond Green tends to agree.
"Q: What’s your two cents on the Cavs?
A: “Uh, they're struggling.”
Q: Would you be panicking if you were one of their fans?
A: “To a certain extent yes. And to a certain extent, no. I don't think anyone should be panicking 12 games in, or 13 games in. However, there are some glaring concerns with them. And at the same time, you're missing a 30-point (per game) player (in Thomas) on the bench who's hurt. So my concern would be that LeBron is playing so many minutes right now (James, in his 15th season, is leading the league in minutes at 38.1 per game; it’s his highest mark since the 2010-11 season).
“Yeah, he's super human but eventually his super human powers go away, so that would be more of my concern if I'm a Cavs fan or somebody with the Cavs or a player, is like 'Man, he's been playing a lot of 40 minute (nights) and it's only Nov. 12.' But I wouldn't be pressing the panic button just yet. At the end of the day, they know how to win. They've got a guy who knows how to win, so I wouldn't necessarily press the panic button. I would see certain things and I would panic about those certain things, just because…I don't think nobody should be playing 40 minutes a game in November (James has played 40-plus minutes in six of his 14 games).
Q: That's his call though, right?
A: “I don't know who it is. But at the end of the day, if he's doing it he's doing it for a reason. He's not just doing it because (he wants to). That's tough. That's tough mentally also. That would be more of my concern over them not playing well. Like, (expletive), it's Game 13. Who cares who's playing well? Also, you could be playing great in Game 13 and by Game 30 you could be some (terrible team).”
Once again, Draymond proves to be one of the realest guys in the NBA. After being asked his thoughts on Cleveland, he offers a straight-up answer: They're not doing so well.
He attributes their disappointing record to start the season to new acquisition Isaiah Thomas being sidelined until next year, as well as James playing almost 40 minutes a game every night, which hasn't resulted in success.
We all know James has handled heavy minutes in the past, but LeBron is turning 33 this season, and with the number of miles he's put on his body thus far, who knows when his body will start to show signs of slowing down. It could be their next game, or it could be 3 years from now when James is 36.