INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – Might we see Kyrie Irving or Iman Shumpert — or both — on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ upcoming road trip?
“There’s a chance that one of the two or even both play on the trip, but there’s also a chance that they don’t,” Cavs coach David Blatt said following Thursday’s practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “We’ll see how they’re feeling.”
Irving and Shumpert have participated in three full practices since being cleared and continue to progress well, according to Blatt.
“It’s a day-to-day thing with both of them,” he said. “They practiced today, full. We kind of like to let them get through the practice and then the next day morning gauge how they’re feeling, and then just go from there.”
Recently, Blatt has indicated his belief that Shumpert is slightly ahead of Irving in terms of recovery, but the Cavs’ coach has been impressed by both.
Neither has played in an NBA game since the 2015 NBA Finals.
Cleveland will travel to Orlando to battle the Magic on Friday. They’ll continue their short trip on Tuesday in Boston before returning home to play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Change of style?
When Irving and Shumpert officially return, their presence will instantly have a positive impact on the entire team. But will their reintegration to the lineup accompany some changes in playing style?
“I think it’s a not a matter of them having to change how they play or us having to change,” Blatt said.
“I just think they give us a real boost, a real shot in the arm, because of their particular skillsets and what they bring to the table for us — plus we’ve been playing shorthanded and having to ask a lot of other guys in terms of their minutes and their volume of play. On both of those fronts, they really help us. I’m not that worried about them changing the way that we play, or vice-versa.”
Down with the sickness
J.R. Smith did not attend practice on Thursday due to illness and will not travel with the team to Orlando on Thursday night.
However, there is a chance Smith could join the Cavs prior to Friday night’s game against the Magic, depending on how Smith is feeling. He is officially listed as questionable for Friday’s matchup.
Smith is averaging 11.2 points per game this season. He is shooting 36.4 percent from beyond the three-point line.