We have yet to see this year’s version of the Cleveland Cavaliers at full strength. Tonight, we’ll get a small semblance of what that might eventually look like now that Isaiah Thomas will be making his franchise debut against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Thomas, fresh off of rehabbing from a significant hip injury, will come off the bench and will have his minutes restricted. He won’t play on Wednesday against his former team, the Boston Celtics, and it’s going to take some time for him to round into game shape.
Cleveland Cavaliers Isaiah Thomas sits down with Rachel Nichols for an exclusive interview ahead of his return to the court after suffering from injury.
But once he does regain his aura as one of the NBA’s most lethal scoring machines, things will be much more exciting on the hoops landscape as the 2018 Playoffs approach.
“It’s a blessing,” Thomas said. “It’s been a long process for me. It’s been a frustrating and tough process but at the same time you got to trust it. Each and every day, I just attacked it every day to try to get better and now that day is here. I haven’t played in so long, so man, it’s going to be a weird feeling…but I’m happy. I’m happy it’s here.”
Don’t expect too much, too soon, as I.T. will likely only see about 8-to-12 minutes of play in his debut.
“I know it’s going to take time at first and we got to go through the steps of going out there and playing in the game and figuring those things out but once I get comfortable then all the restrictions got to be off soon,” Thomas said.
In Chapter 5, Isaiah reveals the exact moment he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Following a conversation with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, Isaiah shares his immediate reaction to the news, tells his family and friends, and begins the process of leaving his beloved city of Boston for a new home.
Hopefully, he’ll be in his full groove by next month, in time for the Cavs next visit to Boston on February 11th. One thing we’ve learned in watching him over the years is to never take him for granted.
As I’d written previously:
I’m not one of these folks that are new to the party. I’ve been following Isaiah Thomas since the Tacoma, Washington native played his prep school ball at the South Kent School in Connecticut in the late 2000’s, where one of his teammates was a kid from Philly that I’d been hearing about named Dion Waiters.
While still in high school, I’d heard the rumors of the diminutive sensation lighting it up in Jamal Crawford’s rugged and super-competitive Seattle summer Pro-Am league. Going up against Crawford, Jason Terry, Nate Robinson and other NBA players, as well as college stars and some playground legends whose hoops dreams crumbled in a succession of bad breaks and poor decisions, this kid who was becoming known around town as Mighty Mouse more than held his own.
I loved watching Thomas play the point at the University of Washington. He hypnotized me that freshman year, playing alongside Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Quincy Pondexter, when he led the team in scoring as the Huskies took first place in the Pac-10.
Isaiah Thomas gets it done in the 4th quarter, dropping 29 of his 52 in the 4th quarter as the Celtics defeat the Heat on the 2nd night of a back to back. About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada.
His instincts as a scorer stood out to me back then, but he also showed a toughness within the physical realm of the game. In addition to getting buckets, he was a leader with court vision who was capable of dishing out some really crisp assists while creating opportunities for others. He was a beast in transition. But he also thrived within the tight confines of the pick and roll, utilizing something that most saw as a disadvantage, but was really an asset: his height.
With his low center of gravity, an ability to handle the rock on a yo-yo and elite change-of-speed-and-direction ability, he ate up double teams like Michael Sweetney at an all-you-can-eat Waffle House buffet. He was converting in the paint and making some excellent decisions on short and deep drive-and-kicks.
Quite simply, my man was a baller, his 5-foot-8 stature be damned!
I’m still smiling at the 28 points and the buzzer-beater-dagger he dropped on Arizona in the Pac-10 championship game his junior year. I can still hear my man Gus Johnson‘s excitement as the words jumped from his larynx, “Isaiah! Shot clock turned off! Game clock at eight! He’s gonna do it himself!!! Thomas! Shake! Crossover! Step-back! At the buzzer!!!…”
WATCH THIS IN AMAZING TRUE HD QUALITY!
The final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, the 60th selection to be exact, has proven to be one of the most unique diminutive guards the game has ever seen. And he surely doesn’t take his NBA ride for granted as well.
“I never took the game for granted,” he said when addressing reporters about his eventual return. “I was always one that just wanted to be the best I possibly could. Get everything out of this game I possibly could. But, I mean, for being 28 years old and this being the first time I’ve ever been really hurt and had to sit down, it made you appreciate it even more and I definitely don’t take it for granted. This made me a better basketball player, a better person mentally and physically. So, it should be something special in 2018.”
“Mask Off” Available at Spotify http://smarturl.it/MaskOffRemix_Sptfy iTunes http://smarturl.it/MaskOffRemix Apple Music http://smarturl.it/MaskOffRemix_AM Future online: www.futurefreebandz.com www.facebook.com/futureofficial www.twitter.com/1future www.instagram.com/future www.youtube.com/officialfuturevideos www.soundcloud.com/futureisnow (C) 2017 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment with A1 / Freebandz http://vevo.ly/13JWSs
Like Kendrick Lamar’s verse on the remix of Future’s Mask Off, what he’s really saying is, “Everybody who didn’t pay respect, Gotta ‘fess up now and pay ya debts!”
Because once he gets his groove back, folks are about to be inspired. He’s about to leave some bodies in the street. He’s about to take the mask off so you can see.