Did LeBron take a shot at Kyrie Irving in praising Isaiah Thomas?

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

LeBron James is excited about Isaiah Thomas getting healthy and joining the Cavaliers on the court, even if that is maybe a month away. He should be. Watch the Cavaliers play and it’s clear LeBron could use a little help on the offensive end (Kyle Korverprovided it in New York), they need another shot creator who gets himself buckets and set up others.

That’s what LeBron said to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report… but is this a dig at Kyrie Irving, too?

“It’s been a while since I’ve had that clear-cut guy who can get guys involved but also score at the same time,” James told B/R Mag. “But it’s fine. It’s something that our team will make an adjustment to.”

LeBron is too polished and too savvy with the media now to think he does anything by accident. He knows what he’s saying and how it will be taken (most of the time, he was confused why Knicks fans didn’t get his jab at Phil Jackson).

Just to give you the numbers, last season in Boston Thomas assisted on 32.5 percent of his teammates’ baskets when he was on the court, while this season in Boston Irving is assisting on 32.7 percent of his teammates’ buckets when on the court. Last season in Cleveland, Irving was at 29.7 percent. For his career, Irving has an assist rate of 30.1 while Thomas is 29.7.

Basically, that’s the same impact as a passer. Neither of these guys are known as pass first.

There’s a lot of eyes on the Cavaliers as they have stumbled to a 7-7 start this season with the worst defense in the NBA. There are legitimate questions to ask about how this team fares this season, and what it will look like going forward. However, if you are betting against a LeBron-led team in the East, you do so at your own peril.

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