It’s finally here. The day that Isaiah Thomas (28.9 PPG, 5.9 AST for the 2016-17 season) returns to the court after being sidelined for over six months due to a hip injury. Many assumptions have been made that when Thomas does return, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a problem for opposing teams. Adding more offensive firepower to what is already a strong team offensively is icing on the cake for Cleveland (5th in offensive scoring). However, it will take some time before Cleveland really clicks together and reaches their full potential. That said, here’s what we can expect to see from Thomas tonight.
Expect restricted minutes for Thomas and for him to come off of the bench. This is a smart move by Cleveland. Why rush anything at this point. In fact, Thomas will not be playing tomorrow against the Boston Celtics, which again is a smart move. Back to back games isn’t the best way to bring back a player who has been rehabbing for months.
You should also expect Thomas to look a bit out of rhythm. It’s going to take time for him to find his groove. Expecting him to drop 30 plus points tonight is just foolish. I’d expect him to have some creative freedom in terms of isolation tonight. Keep in mind, in Boston he was the main guy, in Cleveland that won’t be the case. This will benefit Thomas in the long run health-wise.
I wouldn’t expect to see Thomas play as hard as he can. Like I mentioned earlier, he will have to find his groove. Tonight is essentially a learning experience for Thomas. He’s on a new team. He knows the guys well off the court, but on the court not so much. My wild stat prediction tonight for Thomas is 10 points and 3 assists. I don’t expect him to play more than 24 minutes either. We’ll just have to wait and see how things play out for the 5’9″ point guard tonight at 7pm EST on NBAtv.
By: JR DePierro
Image Via Cleveland.com
Stats Via Basketball-Reference.com and Oddsshark.com