LeBron James’ approach for Isaiah Thomas’ debut? ‘Just give him the ball’
LeBron James did not over-complicate things one bit when offering his take on how the Cleveland Cavaliers should approach Isaiah Thomas’ first game with the team: “It doesn’t matter. Just give him the ball.”
Thomas will make his highly anticipated debut against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night after rehabbing a torn labrum and other assorted injuries to his right hip.
James isn’t quite sure what to expect from Thomas following such a lengthy layoff. After all, Thomas hasn’t played in a game in seven months and hasn’t had the benefit of a lot of work with his new teammates.
“We really don’t know,” James said of expectations of Thomas early on in his return to the court, via Cleveland.com. “We know he’s excited to once again grace an NBA floor and actually play. We’re excited for him as teammates as well. We expect him to be gassed. We expect him to just be very emotional about the whole, just his journey, just getting back. As far as his performance, that’s the last thing that we’re thinking about.”
James admitted, however, that Thomas has looked — and understandably so — a bit rusty in practice.
“Obviously, the man hasn’t played in a game in seven months. I think anybody would be out of rhythm no matter what you’re doing in life, taking seven months off of doing what you do best,” James said. “But I think just his excitement to actually be out there on the floor and be able to scrimmage full-go against us, that means a lot for him in this process.”
Thomas is expected to come off the bench Tuesday night. He won’t play in Wednesday’s showdown with his former team, the Boston Celtics — in what would have been a remarkable scene — as the Cavs won’t play him in back-to-back games at the onset of his return.
The Cavs are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, so Thomas’ return obviously is welcomed, irrespective of how rusty he may be early on.