NBA free agent, Isaiah Thomas wants to make a return to the NBA. A two-time NBA All Star, Thomas went from being a second round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft to being beloved by Boston Celtics fans during his stint with the team from 2015-2017 before he was ultimately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving.
Thomas has participated in offseason workout with John Wall, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “I was blowing by people,” Thomas told The Boston Globe.
“I haven’t blown by anybody since I had a Celtics uniform on. When I was able to blow by MVP-caliber players, that told me my burst and power and speed are there. I really feel like I’m back.”
Injuries haven’t been kind to Thomas, 31, in the past. However, during 40 games of play for the Washington Wizards last season, he averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists.
The 5-9 point guard has garnered the attention of retired NBA point guard Brevin Knight. Now a Memphis Grizzlies color commentator on Fox Sports Net Memphis, Knight spoke glowingly of Thomas’ game. “I would love to see him get an opportunity,” Brevin Knight told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“Only because to me, the injuries derailed his career and if he is feeling back to 100%, then I would like to see him go out in that way. I don’t want to see him go out playing hurt and going from team to team… that’s not the player that he is. I think for him, a fit for him is a team that needs a guy that can come off the bench that is not position specific. And what I mean by that is that he’s not coming in as your set up guy, he’s coming in to be Isiah Thomas; which is a fantastic scorer and can create opportunities for others off of his own aggressiveness. If you are a team that’s kind of in the middle of where you are in your season and you could be a team that’s teetering towards the playoffs and just need something to get over the hump, I think those are good teams for him that he could help them get over the bump. You go into other situations where it’s an already established situation and then it’s like he’s trying to fit into a mold of that team; something that kind of will restrict who he is, but if he goes somewhere and can be like a Jamal Crawford like when Jamal was 6th Man of the Year, he can be that type of player that can come off the bench and can give you an injection of life just from his energy.”
Thomas is quick on his feet and can score in bunches. Knight liked what he saw during IT’s career in stops with the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Celtics, Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and the Wizards. “What stood out to me was just the ease at which he could score,” said Knight.
“The thing for smaller guys like myself is that we’ve been small all our lives. So it doesn’t change once you get from high school, to college and if we’re good enough to get to the pros because those guys were always bigger than us. We’ve always had to figure out how to score or play around taller people and he was just able to do it at such a level that he could still influence games and STILL be the best player on the floor at his size because, he’s been doing it forever. Also I think he has an advantage because he’s left-handed. It is very hard for people that are right-handed when you play against a lefty to translate the things that you do as a righty that they do as a lefty. It’s a different rhythm, it’s a different beat to that which they play the game and I marvel at the fact that someone of his size could get whatever shot. That’s the thing. He wasn’t just a stand-out-here I’ma shoot jump shots…No no. He was getting to the basket, floaters, using the rim to finish on either side so, I say that to say that started to be a little bit of the progression of smaller guards not just being able to set up and make things and then make a shot; this became when they were taking over games and it was fun to watch him take over games despite the size.”
Thomas is unsigned, but he’s hoping for a chance to prove he’s still got it.
Some have compared Thomas and his quickness to Allen Iverson.
What say you Brevin Knight? “Again, that’s a different type of quickness man,” said Brevin Knight.
“See, I had to play Allen Iverson and Isiah Thomas to me is very quick with choppy steps. AI didn’t play like that. AI played like, ‘I’m here! I’m here!…’ so he was more of a glide on how he played the game. The crossover though, could get from point A to — forget A to B, it was A to C on his crossover because it was so long and he could get from point to point. Now between those two with speed? Yes. But speed in a different way. Speed with choppy steps and speed that I’m just gliding by you and now he’s past your hip and AI’s finishing. With IT it’s still boom-boom-boom-boom and that’s the way the ball is going to bounce. With AI, it’s like boom…boom…boom and the rhythm and the cadence of the two makes them different, but they still get where they’re going faster than anybody else with how they play. So more moves with IT and AI is just…’I got you.’”