Last season, only Jimmy Butler and James Harden played more minutes per game than Kyrie Irving at 36.4. Irving logged a total of 2,730 minutes last season, 10th in the NBA total. He had a heavy workload.
Now, he is coming off fractured kneecap surgery, an injury sustained in the playoffs.
Which leads to the obvious — coach David Blatt and the Cavaliers want to cut back Irving’s minutes next season. From Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
The Cavs also want to cut Irving’s minutes. Mo Williams was signed to help out at point guard. Irving is coming off surgery for a fractured knee cap, so it makes sense to keep his workload light in the regular season.
As Pluto notes, this is exactly why the Cavaliers wanted Mo Williams.
With the veteran Williams and the scrappy fan favorite Matthew Dellavedova, the Cavaliers can easily trim six or more minutes off a night for Irving, getting him down to 30 minutes a night or just below. Plus, they can give him nights off. Considering the injury and what we know about guys who are rested playing better, all of this should be expected.
What helps is the Cavaliers will not pay a real price for this. The added Cavaliers’ depth, plus the fact they are in the East and have an easier path to the top seed, means they can lighten the load on Irving and still get have home court throughout the playoffs (or at least until the Finals). Then come the playoffs, the minutes will crank up again.
After months-long negotiations and various reports that he was on the verge of coming over, the Cavs have finally signed Russian center Sasha Kaun to a contract, according to David Pick. Kaun was the 56th pick of the 2008 draft after playing four years of college ball at Kansas.
Kaun probably won’t play much in Cleveland. They’re pretty crowded up front between Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson (assuming he re-signs) and Anderson Varejao (if he stays healthy). But he’s 30 years old, so this the time to make the jump from Europe to the NBA if he’s ever going to.
How good is Andrew Wiggins? So good that a few days ago, the Timberwolves’ official PR account posted a tweet drawing attention to the anniversary of their trade for him, despite that trade involving Minnesota giving up a consensus top-1o player in Kevin Love.
Wiggins was outstanding in his rookie season for the Timberwolves, winning Rookie of the Year and establishing himself as a cornerstone of a young core in Minnesota that looks to be competitive for a long time. And his teammate Ricky Rubio thinks that’s just the beginning, according to an interview with Rappler.com:
“I think Wiggins is going to be an MVP one day,” said Rubio, who missed a large chunk of last season due to a severely sprained ankle injury.
“He’s a great player, [has] fit in this league very well since day one, and I think as a team we’re really young but we’re adding some veterans that’s going to help us to grow up and follow where we’re going to go – going to make the playoffs.”
As crazy as that sounds now, Rubio might not be wrong. But it’s still a ways off, and the field is crowded. It’s going to be several more years before LeBron James and Kevin Durant stop playing at an MVP level, and Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis are just entering their primes. But Wiggins is only 20 years old and already showing star potential. If he and Karl-Anthony Towns keep developing and the Wolves become a playoff contender in a few years, it’s not hard to see him pushing himself into that conversation.