Isaiah Thomas.

How Isaiah Thomas will impact the Cavaliers when he makes his return

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Throughout the season, LeBron James has carried the load for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has been playing arguably the best basketball of his career.

With Kyrie Irving joining the Boston Celtics, the Cavs needed their superstar to lead them and he has stepped up to the plate in impressive fashion.

While James can help them win most games, the Cavaliers still need others to score and ease the pressure on him in order to preserve his energy in the crucial stages later in the season.

But outside of LeBron, the Ohio-based franchise has been starved of another player capable of creating his own offense and taking over playmaking abilities.

That was evident in their recent loss to the Sacramento Kings as most of their offensive schemes ran through him as the main faciltator and scorer.

LBJ finished with 14 assists but no other player had more than one. The King, who hit just 6-of-17 shots, tied his season-low in scoring with 16 points.

The team was crying out for another ball-handler in that game but the good news is that they have an MVP-caliber player waiting in the wings ready to take on this role very soon.

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

Almost time

Isaiah Thomas - acquired from the Celtics in the Irving trade - is almost ready to make his long-awaited return from a hip injury and make his debut for the Cavs in the coming weeks.

The point guard could suit up against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 2 or on the following night in a blockbuster encounter against his former team at TD Garden - the place where he made a name for himself.

IT hasn't played an NBA game since May and will require a slow integration into the team and will likely be on a minutes restriction to start with.

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

But there's no doubt that his production will add another dimension to the Cavaliers. Thomas averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game last season and adding his scoring alongside LeBron and Kevin Love would make their offense even more formidable.

It's still unknown when he'll be available to play but it's clear that he's needed in the lineup and the organization is willing to take a slow and patient approach with him.

“I think it’ll be good in a lot of ways,” Kyle Korver told USA TODAY Sports about Thomas. “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.”

Cleveland Cavaliers Introduce Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder & Ante Zizic

Isaiah's presence will also allow head coach Tyronn Lue to limit James' minutes and let the two-time All-Star orchestrate the offense while he sits.

He'll offer many options and be a valuable addition to the lineup. Lue prefers to play an uptempo style but this has been a problem with the players currently on the roster as the Cavs have the oldest group in the league.

Thomas will add pace and generate more baskets in transition in the fashion Kyrie used to do.

The void left by the silky ball-handler will be largely filled by the 28-year-old guard and the long wait to see him in action is almost over for Wine and Gold fans.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference

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