He’s always been the centerpiece of the team but Anthony Davis was giving him a run for his money earlier this season, with the career-high numbers he was producing.
Now that Davis is gone, the team needs James more than ever – and the four-time champion is stepping up even though he’s 38 years old.
This season, James is averaging 36 minutes a game and is sometimes playing 40 minutes a night.
Darvin Ham on LeBron James after he played almost 40 mins the other night:
“I just want to ride him. And he allows you to do that because he takes such great care of himself. So, it's a great luxury to have.”
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) January 4, 2023
Head coach Darvin Ham doesn’t see a big problem with that arrangement.
Speaking about James’ time on the floor, Ham was quite honest: “I just want to ride him. And he allows you to do that because he takes such great care of himself. So, it’s a great luxury to have.”
On one hand, you can completely understand where Ham is coming from, especially with how terrific James has been lately.
On the other hand, are Ham and his coaching staff running the risk of losing James for a long period because they are “riding” him so hard?
James is prone to more injuries lately and he has already missed a spell of games this season.
The harder and longer he plays, the higher the risk of a mishap that could lead to weeks or months of James sitting out.
However, at this point, the Lakers don’t really have a choice.
They need James and they would be in even worse shape if he wasn’t on the floor night after night.
We have all seen the Lakers without both James and Davis – it isn’t a pretty sight.
Ham should be cautious and careful to not drain James and play him too much but there is no doubt that he’s incredibly pivotal to the team.