Usually, the last pick in the NBA draft isn’t a goldmine for exceptional talent, but the 2011 draft proved to be the exception to that rule.
The Sacramento Kings scored big after selecting point guard Isaiah Thomas with the 60th and final pick in the draft. In his two seasons with Kings, Thomas has blossomed into a great scorer and ball-handler and has beaten out Aaron Brooks for the role of the team’s starting point guard.
Thomas was an excellent point guard for the University of Washington during his college days, but there was some concern about how well his skills would translate to the NBA. This was primarily due to his height.
Thomas stands at a mere 5’9″, making him one of the shortest players in the NBA. This has not been a problem for Thomas so far however, as he has still been able to both hit jump shots and drive to the hoop. He is a very talented offensive player and his lack of size has yet to effect that.
After earning the starting job with an excellent rookie season, Thomas’ sophomore campaign got off to a rocky start. When the Kings started out at 2-8, coach Keith Smart replaced Thomas in the starting lineup with Brooks.
The situation didn’t improve after the change, however, and by Christmas, Thomas had returned to his post as the starting 1 in Sacramento. Since then, he’s reminded us why we were so impressed with him as a rookie, bringing back his explosive offensive game.
His greatest performance came against the Miami Heat on Jan. 12, when he exploded for 34 points. The Kings would end up losing that game, but Thomas had made it clear that he deserved to be a starting NBA point guard.
Thomas’s raw numbers (12.1 points per game, 3.3 assists per game), don’t initially appear impressive, but they need to be taken into context. Due to the month he spent as a backup, Thomas has only averaged 24.8 minutes per game. His per 36 minute averages are a more robust 17.5 PPG and 4.7 APG. Obviously, he’s still not an elite ball distributor, but that can be blamed at least partially on the Kings’ relatively weak supporting cast. Plus, Kyrie Irving‘s assist numbers are nothing special either and while Thomas is not his level, he can do a reasonable impersonation on his best nights.
Thomas has loads of potential, and it’s obvious that he should be the Kings’ starting point guard going forward. The attempt to revive the career of Brooks has failed to this point and Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette are not true point guards. For his excellent shooting, and great energy, Thomas deserves to be the primary point guard going forward for the Kings. He’s a solid player and he proves that you never know what treasure you might find at the bottom of the draft.
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