LeBron James preparing for Isaiah Thomas' Cavs debut by playing 'NBA 2K' video game
James isn't worried about how to incorporate Thomas, because he's done it in virtual reality
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won 12 straight games, and things only appear to be getting better as All-NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas is progressing toward a possible late-December debut with his new team.
Thomas, who came over from the Boston Celtics in an offseason trade for Kyrie Irving, has been sidelined all season while recovering from a torn labrum in his hip. He has started practicing with the team, however, and Joe Vardon of cleveland.com reports that the Cavs want to have Thomas back on the court before their Christmas showdown with the Warriors.
Oftentimes teams have trouble incorporating star players onto their roster, particularly when other stars are already there. But LeBron James isn't worried about how he and Thomas will coexist. Why not? Because he's already run through every possible scenario in the popular NBA 2K video game.
"It's the most realistic basketball game you could ever play," James said, via ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "I mix and match a lot of lineup changes to see how we can be really good. I've done that."
This might sound like LeBron messing with us, but there might be some truth to it. Virtual reality and augmented reality training are rapidly becoming a regular part of sports development around the world, and LeBron's right about how realistic NBA 2K is. The game has hundreds of plays to run through and offers full lineup customization, so it's not that big of a stretch to say that it could actually help LeBron to prepare for Thomas' return to the court.
Obviously there will be bumps along the way, just as there were when LeBron joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat or when he joined Irving and Kevin Love with the Cavs, but it will be fun to see Cleveland's full, new roster in action.
Thomas averaged a career-high 28.9 points last season with the Celtics and had a usage rate of 34 percent. Right now, James is averaging 28 points -- his most since the 2009-10 season -- with a usage rate of 30.2.
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