It is August 23rd , 2017 and I am sitting on the couch in my living room watching ESPN when suddenly breaking news comes across the screen. The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the coveted Brooklyn Nets 2018 first round pick.
Ever since that trade took place many sports personalities have debated who “won the trade.”
At the beginning of the NBA season, it appeared that the Celtics by far received the better end of the deal. The Cavs were struggling to win games and seemed to be missing a key piece to their offense in Kyrie; the Cavs were not sure that Isaiah would be the same player that he was last season.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers riding a 13-game winning streak, it is important to realize that as good as the Cavs have been, they are only going to get better. Isaiah Thomas still has not stepped onto the court this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Considered by many to be the second or third best player on the Cavs, the imminent return of IT will only help the Cavs already potent offense.
Recovering from a hip injury which required surgery in the offseason, Thomas slowly has been working to make his return to the Cavs. Recently, it appears that he is getting very close to making his return as he played 4 on 4 at the Cavaliers practice facility on Wednesday.
Whenever Isaiah does make his return the Cavaliers, the team will be adding an explosive player. At 5’9’, IT stands shorter than most players in the league and early in his career was considered to be undersized. However, despite his shorter-than-average height, Thomas’ game is as big as any NBA star in the league. Known for his fourth quarter heroics and performances in the clutch last season with the Boston Celtics, IT averaged almost 29 points per game (28.9) and nearly six assists per game (5.9). His points per game average last season was third in the league only behind MVP candidates Russell Westbrook and James Harden and he also ranked 19th in assists per game.
Last season as well was a good season for IT as far as field goal percentage as he shot 46% from the field, a career-high for him; he also tied his career-high in three-point percentage.
There is, however, a question of whether or not Thomas’ defense will hurt an already struggling Cavaliers team on the defensive end. Because he is an undersized player at the point guard position, Thomas has struggled defensively in the past, but only time will tell how that will affect the team’s defense moving forward. Adding a player like Isaiah is certainly not going to hurt an already explosive Cavaliers offense and if Isaiah is even close to the player that he was in the fourth quarter last year, Lebron will not have to carry so much of the burden down the stretch.
Until Isaiah steps on the court this year for the Cavs, it will be unclear as to who won the trade, but it should definitely make for an interesting clash between the Cavs and the Celtics during the Eastern Conference Finals.
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