The Boston Celtics weren’t the only prominent NBA franchise to continue their freefall into a likely play-in scenario on Friday.
The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a 106-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, dropping them to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Yet, no need to fear, because a familiar face is here to save the day for the defending champs — or rather he believes he could if simply given the opportunity.
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Thomas: ‘I Could Help Them Lakers Boys’
Like many of us watching from the sidelines, Ex-Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas sees his former team faltering. Losers of eight of their last 10 games, Los Angeles’ defeat at the hands of Portland allowed the Trail Blazers to jump the Lakers in the standings, while also giving Portland the crucial head-to-head season series tiebreaker (2-1).
With just five games remaining, the Lakers’ quest to defend their title looks as grim as ever. Thankfully, Thomas is offering the team a way out — or rather simply a boost to their lineup, which has had to make do without Dennis Schroder, who is currently in the NBA’s health and safety protocol. Thomas took to Twitter the day after the Portland loss to once again offer up his services to his former team.
Thomas Remains a Free Agent After Short-Stint in NOLA
Thomas, 32, is no longer the MVP caliber talent that took the league by storm in the mid-2010s with the Celtics. A devastating hip injury has since stripped him of his once-elite offensive abilities — namely his quickness. With a limited offensive prowess, his defensive shortcomings have been far more difficult for organizations to put up with. Since initially sustaining the injury in 2017, Thomas has gone on to play a total of just 87 games for five different franchises.
His most recent stint in the league came with the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Thomas appeared in three games with the Pels, averaging 7.7 points on 33.3% shooting (25.0% from 3-point range), as well as 1.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. The team ultimately opted against re-upping following the conclusion of his 10-day contract.
“I haven’t run into a veteran guy more grateful for an opportunity to play in the league in my entire time in the league. He’s been unbelievable here,” Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters of Thomas. “I feel privileged that I’ve gotten the opportunity to coach him even for a very short amount of time.”
For a broader sample size, Thomas appeared in 40 games with the Washington Wizards during the 2019-20 season. Over that span, his production was far more noteworthy, averaging 12.2 points and 3.6 assists in 23.1 minutes per game. Furthermore, he knocked down a career-high 41.3% of his shots from beyond the arc.
It’s difficult to think that the former two-time All-Star doesn’t offer enough offensive punch to serve as a bench piece for one of the 30 NBA franchises. With that said, Thomas’s most likely road to an NBA return likely doesn’t come with a mere 10-day contract with the Lakers at the end of the regular season.