A lot will be different for LeBron James in 2018 at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not only will he be playing away from the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time in four years, but he will also be playing in the Western Conference for the first time in his career.
With a mixture of veteran experience and a young core on the team, the Lakers have a good chance of making the playoffs with LeBron next season as well.
However, if The Athletic's Andy Kamentzky is to be believed, the King will also be treated to another first during his first season in Los Angeles as well.
Kamentzky has speculated that next season, the Lakers could force LeBron to play the fewest minutes he has ever played across his entire career.
33.5 minutes a game
He believes that the Lakers will limit LeBron to just 33.5 minutes per game, which is 3.4 minutes down from what he did in his last season with the Cavaliers. They will do this in order to keep him fresh for the postseason.
He said in his report: “To me, 33.5 mpg feels like a great goal. Shaving just 3.4 minutes may sound trivial, but over the course of 82 games, 278.8 minutes add up. It’s difficult to believe LeBron’s body wouldn’t benefit from that time off, especially as the Lakers enter the playoffs.”
In an ideal world, the Lakers will be hoping that this happens so that not only they can keep LeBron fresh for the playoffs, but also so that the likes of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma in their second NBA season keep on developing for the future of the franchise.
Other players on the Lakers roster like Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will also need to step up in order to limit LeBron so that he can be used more during the postseason.
This, in turn, will increase Los Angeles' chances of ending their five-year playoff drought and going deep into the postseason but also increase their chances of reaching their first NBA Finals since 2010.
Whether or not LeBron himself would accept just playing 33.5 mpg however remains to be seen, but if he wants to prolong his career as much as possible, this would be the best way to go about it.
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