Measuring the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Ceiling

LeBron James
CLEVELAND, USA - DECEMBER 9: LeBron James (23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action during the NBA game between Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers at Quicken Loans Arena on December 9, 2017 in Cleveland, United States. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to always be a roller coaster season. Their seasons usually have a lot of highs and lows. A big part of that is because they have a target on their back every time they step on the floor. With such a target and many new faces on the roster, it has been difficult to measure the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ceiling up until this point in the season.

Measuring the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Ceiling

This is in large part because LeBron James is on the team, who might very well be the most talked about player in NBA history. So far this season, the Cavaliers have been on both sides of the spectrum.

The Cavs started out in a huge funk, losing to teams that they shouldn’t have lost to. A big part of their early-season struggles was all of the new faces that were included in the offseason. These additions were made because of the peculiar departure of Kyrie Irving.

Impact of Isaiah Thomas

The biggest piece the Cavaliers got in return for Irving was Isaiah Thomas. Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting last year and had a breakout season with the Boston Celtics. Cavaliers’ fans were thrilled to finally see him take the court recently against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Thomas did not disappoint with his debut, scoring 17 points in about 19 minutes. Even though it was his first outing in seven months, he was still highly effective. His surprisingly great debut led to a lot of questions as to whether or not he would play against his former team, the Celtics, the next day.

The Cavaliers’ organization quickly shot down those rumors. They reiterated that Thomas would not be allowed to play on back to backs.

The Cavaliers went on to get thrashed in Boston by the Celtics. The Celtics were in control for most of the game, mainly because of their bench. Terry Rozier gave the Celtics a huge boost off the bench, while rookie sensation Jayson Tatum was ultra aggressive in getting to the basket.

Moving Forward 

After the game, James stated that it is hard to determine the ceiling for the Cavaliers until Thomas is back consistently. Thomas can give the Cavaliers a whole different dimension if he can remain healthy.

Thomas can relieve a lot of pressure off of James, giving the Cavaliers another playmaker and scorer. He can also be great at drawing fouls, which can help the offense if it starts to become stagnant.

The little man also adds a great dose of feistiness and toughness to the Cavaliers that is much needed. Even though he is a liability on defense, he can somewhat approximate what Irving used to give the Cavaliers offensively. The chip on his shoulder can also help motivate the Cavaliers during a long NBA season.

Thomas will suit up and play next game against the Orlando Magic. This will be a great opportunity for Thomas to continue working on his rhythm and feel for the game. It will be interesting to see how Thomas will mesh with the Cavaliers and if it will benefit them in the long run.

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