Hello friends and welcome to “Off-Balanced J,” a new NBA column here at The Ball Out. 2020 is already here and I hope everything has gone well thus far.
Plain and simple, this will be the NBA column for the NBA head. All thoughts will be my own, they’ll be honest and transparent.
In addition, if you want to discuss things that I say, right or wrong, you can hit me on Twitter (@RGotNoJ).
So, let’s get things going!
Is LeBron James going to push it too far?
As sports fans, we look at athletes who play through injuries as tough. Kobe Bryant played through a myriad of injuries throughout his career and won a championship with a broken finger. Michael Jordan played hurt and played sick. Allen Iverson had his fair share of injuries that he continued to play through.
Those are three guys that are in the upper echelon of athletes who we as fans loved because it told us in our minds, there goes a guy who’s willing to put it all on the line to win.
However, this LeBron James groin injury concerns me quite a bit if he truly has it. And as we begin 2020 and our resolution, James should have one… load management.
Here’s his numbers as of this moment:
25.1 Points Per Game (12th in the NBA)
7.5 Rebounds (28th in the NBA)
10.8 Assist (1st in the NBA)
26.28 PER (7th in NBA)
48.7 percent from the field
34.5 percent from downtown
68.8 percent from the line
By athletic as well as NBA standards, James has surpassed both of those by a landslide. Yet, what I’m not liking right now is it feels that he’s is trying to prove a point to the NBA fans and to his critics in year 17. Don’t get me wrong he has every right to.
He’s heard the rumblings of “Washed king” or “He’s over the hill”. And listen, for a guy in what we feel is the twilight of his career, at 35 years old, he’s surprised us all.
However, that Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Clippers James said he had a groin issue and that it was re-aggravated during that game after taking a tumble with Patrick Beverley. In addition, that it was so bad, the Lakers we’re asking him to do the thing he has said he won’t do: load manage.
Now you did have those like Skip Bayless, who believe that his injury was just a crock and that he was using it as an excuse. You can make arguments for or against that.
However, what I don’t understand from LeBron this year is why he’s taking this stance of not willing to load manage this year? I feel he will at some point this season if and when the Los Angeles Lakers clinch the No. 1 seed in the West. But remember he said on record that load management is something he’s not going to do.
My question to that now is… why? What’s the reasoning behind the fact that he doesn’t want to sit out games in year 17?
It’s not like he hasn’t done it before. We’ve saw him do it in Cleveland a couple years, I’m sure he did it in Miami and depending on how you look at it, he did it somewhat last year.
This Lakers team is probably the best chance that LeBron has of winning the NBA championship again. Despite what Clipper fans, Lakers haters or LeBron haters have to say about it — this is his best shot.
At this point of the season, with the Lakers sitting at the top-spot in the Western Conference, LeBron James has logged 1,119 minutes in the games he’s played. Some of those minutes… unnecessary. However, that’s more of a team problem and a whole different conversation.
Also in year 17, he’s top-20 in the league in both minutes per game (35.0) and usage rate (30.9). Is this needed from a man at age 35? A man who’s being described as the G.O.A.T and on everyone’s Mt. Rushmore?
I get it. Kawhi Leonard has come into his city and load managing is his thing now and he may never play over 60 games again. However, because of that we say that’s why he’ll beat LeBron in the playoffs cause he’ll be fresh and the postseason is all that matters.
If he has a groin injury and people are asking him to sit, he needs to sit.
Why LeBron needs to sit
His groin injury last year showed something: that Father Time could possibly be coming up the alleyway for him. And the groin isn’t an issue, but the groin can lead to the back and the back can lead to the foot and the foot can lead to… you get it.
Los Angeles has 14 games in the month of January. Seven will be on the road. Their first four games are against Phoenix, New Orleans, Detroit and New York.
If James wants his ring and to be the only player to win three titles and three finals MVPs with three different teams…. his new year’s resolution should be… sit.. now.