NBA: 30 greatest playmakers in NBA history

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Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons
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11. Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas was the proverbial leader of the “Bad Boys” from 1981 to 1994 but when looking at the stat sheet, he was a lot more than that. Thomas led the league in assists per game (13.9) during the 1984-85 campaign.

He dished out a career-high 25 assists that season against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 13, 1985. Thomas put up 20 assists or more in nine games during that season, showing off his All-Star ability.

In the Pistons run to back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, he took home the 1990 NBA Finals MVP award. The shifty 6-foot-1 floor general produced 27.6 points, 7.0 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game as Detroit ran away with the NBA Finals against Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers, 4-1.

Thomas didn’t win an MVP award during the regular season, but it didn’t stop him from showing off his ability to score the basketball. He had at least one 40-point game in five of the 13 seasons he played with the Pistons.

Thomas revolutionized the point guard position on both ends with his gritty style of play. He was named to 12 All-Star games as one of the smaller guards to play the game, but he played in the moment. He wasn’t afraid to score down low and wasn’t afraid to get physical on defense either.