The 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers were coming off a heartbreaking loss in the NBA Finals vs. the Golden State Warriors. The team’s front office made a lot of moves in the offseason to cope with Kyrie Irving’s loss and go back to get back at the Dubs but it didn’t just work out.
The Cavaliers added Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Jeff Green, Jose Calderon, Cedi Osman, Derrick Rose, John Holland, Dywane Wade, London Perrantes, Marcus Thorton, and Kendrick Perkins and looked like the team to beat out of the Eastern Conference.
However, their roster just didn’t mesh the way they’d thought it be, and some of the stars that made it to the team vastly underperformed. Today, we’re going to compare how those players fared with the Cavaliers with their prime stats.
2018 Isaiah Thomas vs. Prime Isaiah Thomas
Cavs fans weren’t that worried about losing Kyrie Irving because they would get Isaiah Thomas in return. He was coming off a career year and averaged 28.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 3.2 three-pointers per game and looked poised to be a perennial All-Star.
Sadly, he was far from the same player with the Cavs. He lost his first-step after suffering a back injury and just didn’t get along with the rest of his teammates, LeBron James included. He averaged 14.7 points on 36% from the floor and was traded away after 15 games.
2018 Derrick Rose vs. Prime Derrick Rose
LeBron James vowed to ‘get Derrick Rose back to his MVP shape and get him a big contract’ when D-Rose signed with the Cavaliers in 2017. Needless to say, he was far from both things. Rose was still working his way back to injury and lacked the confidence and aggressiveness of his former self.
During his brief stint at Cleveland, Rose averaged 9.8 points and 1.6 assists per game and was traded after 16 games. That’s nowhere near close to his MVP season of 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.0 steal per game on 44% from the floor.
2018 Dwyane Wade vs. Prime Dwyane Wade
The Dwyane Wade-LeBron James duo had already dominated during their time with the Heat so there wasn’t a reason to think that formula wasn’t going to work out again. Still, Wade was far past his prime and just averaged 11.2 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Wade and the Cavs worked a trade out to send him back to the Miami Heat after 46 games with Cleveland. He didn’t look like the explosive scorer he was in 2009 when he averaged a league-high 30.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game.
2018 LeBron James vs. Prime LeBron James
This one’s kind of tricky. I mean, is LeBron James past his prime already? When did LeBron reach his prime? The guy has been one of the best players in the world for 17 straight seasons and isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon.
He balled out with the Cavaliers that season and averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game on 54/36/73 shooting splits. That’s not that far from his 2012-13 season averages of 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.3 dimes per game.
2018 Kevin Love vs. Prime Kevin Love
People tend to forget how much of a baller Kevin Love was in Minnesota. He dominated both sides of the glass and could score at a high clip from all three levels but he embraced a lesser role ever since he was traded to the Cavs. It was for a bigger purpose and it paid off.
Love’s scoring totals took a dip during the 2017-18 season. He averaged 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game on 45/41/88 shooting. That wasn’t close to his averages of 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game from his 2014 season.