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Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has insisted that he wants to see his playing time reduced after topping 40-minutes in seven of the first nine games of the season.
The two-time NBA champion is averaging 39.1 minutes per game so far this season, which is third in the league behind Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (41.4) and Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler (40.3).
Speaking after practice on Tuesday, James admitted that he wouldn’t mind seeing his minutes reduced with coach David Blatt leaning heavily on his ‘Big Three’ so far.
Kyrie Irving (38.4) and Kevin Love (37.0) rank fourth and fifth behind James.
“I wouldn’t mind it,” James said.
“I think we have to give our guys on the bench more of an opportunity. I looked at a stat and myself, Kyrie (Irving) and Kevin (Love) are three of the top five guys in the league in minutes per game and that has to come down.”
“For me, I don’t want to do that all year. Obviously right now it’s difficult because we’re trying to find a groove, we’re trying to find a rhythm and we’re trying to implement something that you don’t want to shortcut it, but at the same time you want to be smart about it. So, I don’t mind giving a few of my minutes up just to help the team, to help my minutes go down. I think it would be for the best.”
Part of the reason why James has had to play so many minutes is down to the fact that Shawn Marion has been moved into the starting line-up to help defensively, whereas originally he was acquired by the franchise to play back-up minutes for James.
While the extensive playing time has resulted in the Big Three recording high scoring averages, it undoubtedly hurts the development of their bench who are ranked 29th in the NBA with just 23.9 bench points per game.
In addition, it could also have an effect on James, Irving and Love by the time the post-season comes around as they will have already logged significant minutes ahead of a potentially gruelling playoff run.