LeBron James has been getting older as time passes by and durability has become a real factor in his career, as Kenny Smith pointed out yesterday.
The NBA on TNT analyst has played in the NBA and suffered for bad knees for over 2 decades as a result. Kenny understands the toll that the grind of an 82-game season followed by playoffs put on NBA players’ bodies.
He still considers Michael Jordan to be the greatest (I mean, why would you not?) but he believes LeBron has earned the comparisons. James has now set his sights on a 19th straight season at the top of the basketball pyramid.
The Lakers have acquired Russell Westbrook as their de facto point guard. This would be the first time in James’ career that he plays with a truly elite ‘true PG’, so to speak. Kyrie Irving is a point guard by designation, but he plays more like a combo guard than a pure playmaker.
“LeBron James’ most astounding achievement is making so many Finals”: Kenny Smith
Kenny Smith was on Mike Greenberg’s ESPN radio show a few days back. The revered TNT analyst dropped a few nuggets of wisdom during his short session with Greeny.
One of Greeny’s questions regarding the Lakers’ probable plans for next season was regarding how to manage LeBron James. Kenny didn’t have a ready-made answer for it, but like always, he gave credit where credit was due:
“I don’t know if there’s a way. Even, you know, load management or in certain games you play limited minutes, but you’re playing at that intensity.”
“That’s the most astounding thing about LeBron James and the amount of times he’s been to the NBA Finals. It wasn’t the fact that he’s not a great player, it’s the fact that he never really got injured.”
“And that to me is probably his biggest achievement and asset, it’s his durability. And to play at such a high level for so long and not be injured in any capacity.”
“Even Michael Jordan sat out a year with his foot early on in his career. People don’t have the durability to last that long and play that high at that level.”