The wait is finally over. Isaiah Thomas will make his debut as a Cleveland Cavalier on Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers. With the Cavs playing a back to back, he will rest Wednesday against the Boston Celtics.
Isaiah Thomas will make his season debut Tuesday vs POR, per Ty Lue. He'll come off the bench and be under a minute restriction. He will not play vs BOS.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 1, 2018
While the return of Thomas is incredibly exciting, there will be an adjustment period as Thomas gets his rhythm and back into game shape. Thomas addressed the state of his game on Monday after his return was announced:
Isaiah Thomas: “My hip is better but I have no rhythm ... It feels like I lost my powers ... but once I get out there it’s going to be too hard to hold me back”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 1, 2018
When Thomas joins the rotation full-time, it will likely signal the end of significant minutes for Jose Calderon. Calderon had filled in admirably in Thomas’ absence, but with Thomas, Dwyane Wade, J.R. Smith, and Kyle Korver all competing for minutes at the guard position, minutes will be hard to come by.
It’s not exactly surprising that Thomas would play against Portland and not Boston, as he had expressed how difficult it would be to play in Boston on a minute restriction. When you combine that with him not feeling comfortable with where his game is at, a delayed revenge game makes sense.
Patience will be key, as we likely won’t see what version of Thomas the Cavs will have this season for at least a month. But the potential of what he can bring, as well as him returning on-time is very exciting.