Blogtable: First impressions of Isaiah Thomas with Cleveland Cavaliers?
Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
From NBA.com Staff
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Your quick, initial impression of Isaiah Thomas after watching him in a Cavs uniform for the first time?
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Steve Aschburner: Guess I’m one of those skeptics that Thomas has proven wrong again and again in his career, because I wasn’t all that excited to see his impact on the Cavaliers. I know what they gave up in Kyrie Irving and my take has been, that’s not replaceable. Well, no, it’s not replaceable — not exactly. But Thomas showed enough, while lugging so much rust, as to open up new possibilities for Cleveland’s attack. His pick-and-roll potential with LeBron James and Kevin Love is intriguing, and James will figure out how to tap every bit of potential from the headbanded one. Defensively … nah, we won’t go there, since Irving’s limitations there are notable as well.
Shaun Powell: Thomas looked rested, healthy, fresh and determined. He took his time during rehab and it showed: 19 minutes, 17 points. Even better for the Cavs, he showed he belonged. It’s a small sample size, but this bodes well. Only question is whose minutes/shots are getting trimmed and will that player be fine with it.
John Schuhmann: I took note of how aggressive he was. There was no taking it slow and just facilitating. He was using his quickness off the dribble to get to the basket or create an advantage to put the Portland Trail Blazers in rotation. There was some rust, but if he’s already that confident in what his body can do, he’s going to make the Cavs a better offensive team very soon.
Sekou Smith: He is going to be every bit as dangerous as I initially thought he would be in joining the talented and veteran lineup Cleveland has assembled. There wasn’t much rust that I could spot on his game after such a long layoff, which speaks to the diligence of his routine since the playoffs. He’s a much better natural playmaker than he’s given credit for and I think it showed during his 19 minutes against the Trail Blazers. You know he’s going to score at a high rate. He’s done that everywhere he’s been when given the opportunity. The chip on his shoulder (from the trade, from his entire basketball career) is bigger than it has ever been … which is great for the rest of us. Thomas is determined to do whatever it takes to win at a championship level and put on a show while doing so. The matchup against the Golden State Warriors (Jan. 15, 8 ET on TNT) is going to be must-see-TV.