Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says Cleveland Cavaliers fans shouldn’t panic about their “struggling” team’s 7-7 start. What they should be concerned about, though, is LeBron James’ minutes, according to the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
In a Q&A with USA Today’s Sam Amick, Green elaborated on his thoughts on the Cavs’ slow start and why James’ early high minutes inevitably won’t be good in the long run:
“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 Isaiah Thomas) on the bench who’s hurt. So my concern would be that LeBron is playing so many minutes right now.
“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 first 14 games of the season. Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, he was leading the league at 38.1 minutes per game, his highest total since 2010-11, his first year with the Miami Heat, while averaging 28.1 points, 8.8 assists and 7.6 rebounds.
But while James, who turns 33 in December, is seeing a lot of playing time on the court, the Cavs still entered Wednesday’s action in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. So what gives? The Cavs have eight new players on the squad this season, including the subtraction of Kyrie Irving and addition of Isaiah Thomas, who is still recovering from his hip injury and has yet to hit the floor.
James, in his 15th NBA season, has taken over the majority of the offensive workload for the Cavs. But as Green recognized, “if he’s doing it, he’s doing it for a reason.”
“He’s not just doing it because (he wants to),” Green told USA Today. “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).”