After the Lakers season-opening loss to the Nuggets, LeBron James had a few choice words to say about only playing 29 minutes. The four-time champ said, "I always want to be on the floor, especially when you have an opportunity to win a game and you feel you can make an impact. But I guess there's a system in place and I'll follow it."
With James being 38 years old, it should be expected that the star would take a backseat and not play as many minutes as he had in the past. Yes, any player like James would be upset with playing less than 30 minutes in any game, including the opener. According to Dave McMenamin, this is something that the All-NBA player will just have to get used as 28 to 30 minutes will be his normal minute count to start the season.
Was LeBron James playing reduced minutes a major reason that the Lakers lost?
Obviously, the reduced minutes for an All-NBA player will be a reason for any loss. Still, the Lakers can point to other reasons why they lost this game. Anthony Davis struggled in the second half and was unable to get anything going on offense. Add in the fact that some of the Lakers role players struggled, then you can easily see how the Nuggets were able to pull away in the closing minutes of the fourth.
Anthony Davis will most likely be able to rebound against worse teams this season but the question about his inconsistentices will most likely continue. The team will most likely need him to play as a top number one option in the league if they want to end up with a top seed.
The Lakers probably need a backup center and one more facilitator if they want to beat the Nuggets in the playoffs but that won't even matter if Anthony Davis isn't able to play like the All-NBA player he is. With LeBron playing reduced minutes this season, it is highly important that Davis plays like a superstar.