The immense early-season contributions of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James are one reason why the Cavaliers have been able to rebound from their bumpy 5-7 start. However, James’ teammate Kyle Korver believes that an overreliance on the 15-year veteran isn’t in the long-term best interest of the team.
“I think it’ll be good in a lot of ways,” Korver said. “You know, sometimes when we get stagnant is when we start depending on ‘Bron too much to create everything, and he can do it, but it’s hard every night for an 82-game season. To have someone else who can share that load of handling the ball and making plays for guys, I think that’ll help us out.”
During the first few months of the 2017-18 season, James has periodically filled in at point guard for the Cavs, who have been short-handed at the position because of injuries to Thomas and Derrick Rose. For the year, James is averaging 27.8 points, 9.3 assists and 8.2 rebounds. In addition, his shooting touch has seen him connect at a 56 percent rate from the field, including 40.1 percent from long-range.
James, who turns 33 on Saturday, is currently third in the NBA in the category of minutes played, averaging 37.4 minutes per contest. The fear is that the toll of playing so much early will be costly come playoff time.
Korver is looking forward to when Thomas returns, primarily because of the playmaking abilities that the 5-foot-9 guard brings to the court.
“(Thomas is) great off of dribble-handoff actions and pick and roll actions, so it’ll be another threat for us (to have) another ball handler, something else (the opponent has) to game plan for,” Korver said after Wednesday night’s loss in Sacramento. “Another playmaker, you know? He’s shown he can do it at a super high level, and on nights like tonight when it’s not really flowing for us, to have someone else who can obviously take over a game is always welcome.”
When Thomas finally does begin playing is still a question mark, with his estimated return by next week now potentially in doubt. Thomas very much wants to return by next Wednesday, Jan. 3, since the Cavs will be facing his former team, the Boston Celtics, on the road. However, that goal may have to be set aside to avoid any recurrence of his hip troubles.