Dime: You mention the difference in the offseason this past year with the lockout situation. You didn’t play a full season in college due to injury and then came out after just one year. Do you think playing only 66 games helped you because it was less than the normal 82, or was it tougher being crammed into such a short period of time?
KI: It was definitely tougher. I would not wish a lockout season on anyone, just because of the fact that – I mean this whole month of April, we’ve probably only had three or four days of rest. I’m talking about days off. We played seven (games) in nine (days) and 11 in 13, and these last five games we’re playing five in seven. It’s just so condensed for one season. Just thinking that the playoffs start Saturday after the season is done Thursday – my last game is Thursday – it’s crazy to think about. This lockout season has just been a learning experience with how to take care of your body. It will be that much easier next year because the 82 games, you don’t have crammed in as much.
Dime: Who did you look to this year on the Cavaliers as a mentor to guide you through the grind of your first season?
KI: I looked to Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison. They definitely helped me as a person and they definitely helped me develop as a player, on and off the floor. Most of all, they taught me how to be a professional and how to take care of my body.
Dime: You have a prediction for a Finals match-up this postseason?
KI: I think it will be Miami and probably San Antonio…or OKC.
Dime: If you had to pick right now, who do you think will come out on top?
KI: Hmm…I would go with Miami.
Dime: What are you planning to work on this offseason in terms of your game?
KI: Just getting a lot stronger and working on my decision making. Just getting in the best shape I can. Just working hard as much as I can and getting with the rookies that are coming in. It feels a little weird honestly to say this, but I’m looking to take those rookies under my wing and give them advice about the NBA and what it takes to be good in this league.
Dime: With you coming to the Cavs and the situation they were in, you are always going to be measured against those LeBron-era Cavs. What do you think needs to happen, and how long do you think it will be before Cleveland gets back to that level of grabbing the top seed and making deep playoff runs?
KI: Well, there will never be another LeBron. That team they built, it was unheard of (here) and they definitely made their strides, especially as an organization and as a team when LeBron was here. But for me, I’m just starting my own era. We’re adding some new pieces, and I’m not sure how long it will take, but I’m here for the long haul in Cleveland. So whatever it takes, whatever we have to do, I’m sure the organization will do in terms of being successful. But like I said, I’m just building my own era here, along with Tristan Thompson. From this point on, it’s just going to be us two going forward with the pieces we have.
How much better do you expect Irving to be next year?
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