LeBron James Says He's out of Shape at Start of Regular Season

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, tries to get past Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 102-99. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said his conditioning is not where he needs it to be, thanks to an ankle injury that kept him out for part of the preseason.

"I just want to get to where I should be," James told reporters Thursday. "The ankle and the foot injury just kind of kept me out and set me back further than I would like, but I got some time now along the course of these games that we got. We got two back-to-backs coming up, so that's going to help and we have some opportunity to get some practice time in as well."

James told TNT's Kristen Ledlow he was "very out of shape" following Tuesday's opening-night win over the Boston Celtics. He finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists. Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported James worked out on a VersaClimber after the win to help continue his conditioning.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and James were critical of the team's overall conditioning against Boston. Lue said his team was not playing with enough tempo when the Celtics were struggling from the floor, which helped them come back from a 15-point halftime deficit.

James said it will take him "a couple weeks" to get back where he needs to be.

"You want to be in the best shape you can be in individually," James said. "You shouldn't have to have a coach tell you that. I think we were out of shape at that point in time [when Lue first took over] because of the style of play we had. We didn't stress pushing the ball. ... We didn't stress playing at a high tempo and getting the ball up there.

"Our game fit with the type of conditioning we was in. When he took over, he wanted us to do something more. He wanted us to get the ball across half court in four seconds so we could execute our offense. We wasn't ready for that and it showed. We know how we want to play now and if guys are monitoring themselves, guys come in before practice, stay after practice, you guys see that all the time. Well not before, but after. Not too worried about that."

James and many Cavaliers players attended a 7:30 a.m. VersaClimber class before their 11 a.m. practice Thursday. They'll return to the floor Friday for a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.