The Cleveland Cavaliers have been trying to fend off other NBA teams from taking over their top spot in the Eastern Conference this season. With the absence of All-Star athletes like Kyrie Irving from the roster, LeBron James is left with no other choice but to take on more responsibilities. Even Tristan Thompson and JR Smith are stepping up for the vacated slots. While Irving remained absent in the game against the Orlando Magic, the Cleveland Cavaliers welcomed back Iman Shumpert.
The return of the shooting guard to the hardwood court has been long overdue for Cleveland Cavaliers fans. Throughout the season, Shumpert has been vocal in his eagerness to finally get back and help his basketball squad. With King James refusing to lessen his minutes due to his desire to win all games, the former Miami Heat star would need all the backup possible. Hence, the return of Shumpert could not have come at a more perfect time.
"Shump certainly adds a depth to our team," shared James, according to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com. King James went on to share, "He adds some experience to our team. So whenever he's available, it's going to be good for our squad."
The return of Shumpert was not a surprise, though. According to David Blatt, the NBA star has been working nonstop to remain in tiptop shape. He added that Shumpert has been religiously following his rehab routine to hasten the process.
"He kept working and working and really kept himself in great physical shape," revealed Blatt of Shumpert in a separate Cleveland.com report. The Cleveland Cavaliers head coach added, "He worked on his left hand. He's been chomping at the bit here for a while because he wanted to come back sooner than we allowed him to due to the protocol for the type of injury he had. But it looks like he hasn't missed a beat."
James' comments further proved the tenacity of Shumpert. King James shared, "Shump was great. He looked like a guy who didn't miss a beat. I know he was extremely excited, and he played exceptionally well. He had great rhythm, coming back off an injury like that to his shooting hand. He was very aggressive, got in the lane, made threes, very aggressive defensively and we needed that from him. We're happy to have him back."
For his part, Shumpert described his debut this season as "great." The shooting guard ranked in 14 points as well as three rebounds for the 24 minutes he stayed in court. He commented, "Man, it was all worth it, though. All the work, all the extra workouts, the extra running, all the trash-talking to my teammates trying to force them to go at me to get me ready for this moment. It definitely feels good to be back in the swing of things." The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Orlando Magic 111-76.