Frank Vogel says Lakers are tracking ‘LeBron James’ workload as he averages most minutes since joining team


NS Los Angeles Lakers built their 2021 to 22 lineup in part around the idea that LeBron James couldn’t carry on carrying the whole team. After missing 27 games last season, they exchanged it for Russell Westbrook and signed some additional ball-handling players in the hope of possibly giving James a more comfortable break during the regular season and keeping him fresh for the knockout stages.

That’s not exactly how things are going this season. Over the first 12 games, James played an average of 36.9 minutes. That’s his highest total as a Laker and tied for the second most he’s played in the past eight seasons, including all of his 30s. James turns 37 later this month, so ideally the Lakers don’t want to have to depend on him as much as they have. Head coach Frank Vogel on Sunday admitted that while they are monitoring the situation, there are no easy answers here for a 12-12 team in need of its best player.

“We keep an eye on his payload all the time and just have to be smart with it,” Vogel told reporters. “Obviously overtime games are like that. He’ll be there for that stuff, but like you said, he’s missed out for a while. In total I think less worried than if he was. He played a three-round match and then you played the next night, are you cautious in those circumstances? It’s just something that we watch literally every day. We rely on the team. medical team and feedback on how he’s feeling and make smart decisions.”

Vogel makes an interesting point about overtime games. James played a total of 12 games… and a total of four. That means game time alone accounts for nearly 5% of his total minutes played this season. Without them, he would be playing a more manageable 35.3 minutes per game. That might put him almost in line with his 2018-19 workload, but perhaps more sadly, he makes 20.2 goals per game. True, 8.4 of those are a career-high of 3 points, but he hasn’t taken that many shots since the 2007-08 campaign. It was his 23-year-old season.

There is no single solution here. James made it clear that he likes to play big minutes if he was going to go to court, and the Lakers didn’t correctly prove that they were wrong enough for James not to take as many shots. But this team was built specifically to prevent this scenario. So far, the Lakers have been unable to do so. Now, not only do they need to figure out how to tune the ship, but they have to do it in a way that’s more beneficial to LeBron’s long-term health. Frank Vogel says Lakers are tracking ‘LeBron James’ workload as he averages most minutes since joining team

Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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