LeBron James, at the age of 32 and in his 14th NBA season, is second in the NBA in minutes per game at a clip of 37.6.
The Cavaliers made it a point last season to try and limit James' minutes to keep him fresh for a long playoff run, but with Kevin Love now out for the next six weeks, James' workload may see an increase - but LeBron isn't worried about his playing time.
On Wednesday's episode of Undisputed, Cris Carter and Nick Wright debated if LeBron James is right in saying he doesn't need more rest at this point in his career.
LeBron James: "I'll rest when I retire."
“I’ll rest when I retire. As long as I’m in the lineup, we’ve got a chance. We good. Kev is out. Kev is out for an extended period of time. J.R.’s been out, but I’m in the lineup. I’ll be suiting up. We got a chance against anybody, so, I ain’t worried.”
Brian SpurlockBrian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Cris Carter: We would have roasted LeBron if he asked to rest.
"He’s been this way since his rookie year. I think that… I wonder if LeBron had said something different, what would we be saying? We’d be criticizing him [for] ‘oh I want to take less minutes.’
We just came through the semi-controversy of that ‘he doesn’t want to compete.’ That was Barkley’s narrative. ‘I don’t want to compete.’ Well when you’re playing the most minutes… he’s played the most games, the most minutes since he’s come into the NBA, and we have to give him credit. He’s a freak. He hasn’t been hurt since the middle of his high school [career], which happened to be a football injury - which also ended his football career. Now, as a basketball player, he’s a phenom."
Brace HemmelgarnBrace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Cris Carter: There's no reason LeBron shouldn't play every night.
"And I think what we talked about yesterday as far as Michael Jordan, what he did at the end of his career, the amount of minutes that he played for the Washington Wizards. Didn’t miss a game. 37 minutes a game.
LeBron would know if he needed some time off. I give LeBron credit for being the phenom that he is, but we’re not going to see this a whole bunch. So we can’t gauge what LeBron should be doing compared to other players. We haven’t seen a player like him, and the only player we can really compare him to is Mike. Michael Jordan got injured… his second year, where he had the broken foot. But then after that, he ran off where he was playing as many games as he could. And, to me, I like players who want to play.
You get better [by] playing. You don’t get any better not playing. And if you happen to have the body - and he hasn’t had the injuries - why shouldn’t he play?"
Mark D. SmithMark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Wright: I said LeBron needed months off. I was wrong.
"In August I said the Cavs should make up a surgery. They should say ‘LeBron James had an undisclosed shoulder operation. He’s out until the All-Star break.’
Just because the Cavs don’t need home court in the East. With Kyrie and Love, it’s not like they were going to fall to the bottom of the standings. They would be in it. That way LeBron could come back this time of year and just go full bore for 25 games of the regular season and [then] the playoffs.
I thought he needed that because [of] six straight trips to the Finals. No one’s done that since [Bill] Russell’s Celtics. Because he has already in his career played more minutes than Jordan, than Russell, than Oscar [Robertson], than Magic [Johnson], than [Larry] Bird.
I thought, listen, year 14. Heavy workload, never been hurt. He plays in the Olympics. Give the guy, let him have eight months off. He obviously didn’t do that, and I obviously was wrong because of what you said."
Mark D. SmithMark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Wright: LeBron is somehow playing the best basketball of his life right now
“There is no precedent for this. There is no standard to compare him to. No matter what you think of LeBron James as where he ranks in the basketball pantheon. Where he ranks in American athletic pantheon is that he’s the greatest physical specimen we’ve ever seen in any sport.
And this - I want to give Dave McMenamin credit, he works for ESPN. He pointed this out in an article this morning, it is jarring. LeBron James has played 92 months in the regular season. There is an argument to be made that the best month he’s ever had is this one right now. This month he’s shooting 61 percent - the fourth-highest in his career. He’s shooting 56 percent from three. He’s averaging 11.2 assists per game this month, that’s the best in his career.
At 48,782 minutes… Jordan never got there. LeBron is somehow peaking! He’s playing as well as he’s ever played. So if LeBron says he don’t need rest, that cyborg must not need rest. Who am I to question it?"