The road to a third consecutive NBA title begins in the preseason, as the Miami Heat didn’t introduce any major new name on their exhibition debut, giving Dwyane Wade some rest while Chris Bosh took over for LeBron James, who isn’t completely ready for the new season at this point.
The Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 92-87, getting 21 points from Chris Bosh, finishing with 7-of-8 from the field. James himself? The Heat aren’t asking much of him after an offseason that was mostly about travelling around the world, as he put in 21 minutes, scoring nine points on 4-of-11 from the field. He isn’t likely to play more than that in the preseason, and some games will be an opportunity for him to completely rest.
The plan is to play him 15 to 20 minutes in each game, but not in all seven preseason games left for the Heat.
I just did a lot of traveling. That took a toll on my body, getting married. Everyone that’s married, you know what I’m talking about. But it’s all good. It’s just a matter of time for me. I felt better today than I felt last Monday, and that was just media day. It’s just getting your legs back under you. You break them down during training camp, then you try to bring them back up each week, each preseason game. I probably need another week before my legs start feeling really good. After going through a camp like we had last week, now it’s the rebuild process. Coach has a plan. When I’m on the court, I want to get better. Obviously for myself personally, and for my team.
It’s rare to hear James talk about being tired and fatigue, however at some point, even the best athlete in the NBA starts to get older. For the Miami Heat, who probably need him more than ever before as the questions around Wade’s health continue to bother their future plans, giving James every bit of rest they possibly can seems like one of the most important ‘to-do’ issues on their list.
He’s played over 200 games over the last two years: Two NBA seasons, two playoffs in which his team went all the way, including three 7-game series, and the 2012 Summer Olympics, even for James, at some point, being tired is something that happens and he has to adjust to. With only minor additions and questionable at that, the Miami Heat can’t afford to have James being out of shape by the time the season begins, but can’t afford to wear him out before the important part of the year, which happens to be around April, begins.