With Irving back, can Cavs finally soar?

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving is ready to return to the court.

Now that Kyrie Irving is back on the floor, can the Cavs finally discover a new “normal?”

You have to feel for the Cavs a bit. Well, sort of. Ever since LeBron James boomeranged back to Cleveland, the team he envisioned never quite took the floor. At the start of last season, the new club had to deal with transition pains caused by a new coach and the arrival of four key pieces on the rotation: LeBron, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert.

And then, once the introductions were finally made two months into the season, injuries hit. Anderson Varejao was done for the year. When the playoffs began, Love was finished. Shortly after the NBA Finals began, Irving was finished.

And this season, Shumpert has dealt with injuries, which prevented him from delivering anything more than a newborn baby.

LeBron joked that it was “normal” for the Cavs to deal with being incomplete, but today was a step in the other direction when Irving declared himself fit for duty, having healed from his knee injury.

With a simple Michael Jordan-style “I’m back” tweet, Irving has changed the dynamics of the club. He gives the Cavs one more All-Star on the floor, one more scoring option, one less reason to rely so much on LeBron. The Cavs managed to go 17-7 anyway, which is scary once you think about it, how the rest of the teams in the East had their opening and none took advantage of it.

Irving will suit up Sunday against the Sixers, a great team to use as a warm up, which will give him a few days to prepare for the Christmas Day showdown against Steph Curry and the Warriors. Remember, when the Warriors took the Cavs in six games during the Finals, LeBron saluted the champs but also said he wished the Cavs were fully healthy. And that remark took a life of its own, with the Warriors feeling stung by any accusation that they were lucky. Which they were, from the standpoint of avoiding a major injury, unlike OKC and a few other contenders.

“I’m pretty (bleeping) excited,” Irving said at practice, and that pretty much sums up the feeling of his teammates.

The trick now is for the Cavs and Love in particular to mesh with Irving on the floor. In the absence of Irving, Love has played his best ball in Cleveland by far, and feels comfortable with more touches. It’ll be up to coach David Blatt to devise a way to make everyone feel productive and happy.

Irving has practiced pain-free for weeks, and it’s reasonable to suggest he’ll need a few games to get his NBA stamina back. But look: The Cavs have added a three-time All-Star who’s in the prime of his career at age 23. How can it not work?

18 Comments

  1. courtsideguy says:

    its obvious that the cavs will be the number 1 seed. they will make the finals…same ol script there… If its against spurs or gsw….im not sure if they can pull out. 50/50…if its okc its lebrons guaranteed 3rd title….

  2. TL says:

    with kyrie back i think cavs should:

    1) make sure kyrie plays defense

    2) have plays for k love so to keep him happy and effective. don’t just make him stand outside the 3 line to wait for jump shots.

  3. Gandrew says:

    You were an All-star Kyrie! You should show how fast you are and get into an up and down running game with the Warriors. And be sure to take lots and lots of shots. That other guy on your team has had to take too many and is probably tired.

  4. johnnytc1 says:

    @Rob…. Hater? Rob, c’mon bro it’s Christmas. I hope you ask for some vocab from Santa this year. Come on in and state facts.
    Has Johnny been wrong over the last three years? No, I have not. For all the Cav Koolaide drinkers you do have hope and that’s ok. But be realistic. Da king is not a leader. The only time he’s won was 2012 and 2013. He climbed on the backs of DW, RA, CB and SB… You can always route for the Indians or the Browns.

    • JeffD says:

      @johnnytc1 You are funny lol. Cavs not a contender but they almost won the championship with just Lebron. That’s like a boxer fighting a championship bout with one arm tied behind his back. Haters are going to hate keep doing your job!!! Cavs got this in the bag easy. The talent gap has been closed with Kyrie coming back…we will all get a glimpse on Xmas day game. I cant stand stupid fans like you who are not objective. Emotional with no rational…save that for your woman. Leave the basketball to the real true fans!

  5. John says:

    Good Luck Doctor Irving, we have been waiting. Irving james.Love. the Cavs

  6. Showbaba says:

    My advice for KI is that he should not force it, like Lebron always say don’t force it, let the game comes to you. Irving, you don’t need to urgently prove to anyone that you are back, take your time and flow with the game, avoid any hard play that will cause you injury, your team mates need you more in the playoff than regular season. Irving, please don’t give too much buck of jobs for LJ please help me off load, and take control of games as you get more healthy but don’t force it bro. Wishing Cavs all the best all through.. Lebron, I love you, I always enjoy your game bro.

  7. johnnytc1 says:

    cav’s you’re not even close, even with KI. Plus the other teams are getting even bette and you’re not. You are in the top ten, but you won’t make it out of the second round. Especially, if you play Miami. Go and do some more videos, selfies, buy cotton candy during the game etc. Just have a good time because you’re not a contender. trade king for a second round pic and rid yourselves of that distraction….

  8. zjyjj14 says:

    Health is the most important! Hope Cavs can be healthy since now, and get the champs to create big history!

  9. Paco Norvil says:

    Welcome back Kyrie. Go Cavs

  10. Jerome says:

    Go Uncle Drew! Show ’em what you got!

  11. Eder Santos says:

    I’m not saying the warriors were not real good last year,all I’m saying is the Cavaliers beat them twice even though they were decimated with injuries,also a couple of the games the Cavaliers lost were close.

  12. Cavs matchup with every team… but adding Kyrie ‘SuperNova” Irving they have the edge against all teams. No team has a solution against Irving. I expect going forward this will be his breakout season. Irving has been watching how LeBron can control a game. I expect Irving to use his super dribbling ability to setup others and control the game.

    Once these two start clicking …beware NBA you will see some of the greatest plays ever in the history of NBA.
    Irving is that good! People don’t realize KI had the two highest scoring games last season in NBA.
    In addition, Shumpert he completed this team with his defense,rebounding and timely scoring punch.

    I expect his game to improve… most people don’t realize he was hurt in the Finals.

  13. Trini says:

    Good luck Kyrie!!

  14. Cavs matchup with every team… but adding Kyrie ‘SuperNova” Irving they have the edge against all teams. No team has a solution against Irving. I expect going forward this will be his breakout season. Irving has been watching how LeBron can control a game. I expect Irving to use his super dribbling ability to setup others and control the game.

    Once these two start clicking …beware NBA you will see some of the greatest plays ever in the history of NBA.
    Irving is that good! People don’t realize KI had the two highest scoring games last season in NBA.
    In addition, Shumpert he completed this team with his defense,rebounding and timely scoring punch.

    I expect his game to improve… most people don’t realize he was hurt in the Finals.