Nov 20, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) dribbles the ball up the court against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at US Airways Center. The Kings defeated the Suns 113-106. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings' Isaiah Thomas deserves to be an NBA All-Star

Make no mistake, the point guard position may be the toughest to learn in all of basketball. That’s not to say any position is exactly ‘easy’ to learn, especially at the NBA level but quarterbacking a roster is not a simple task.

It’s why so many vaulted collegiate point guards often struggle to harness the game at the next level or why many struggle to adapt in their early years.

That’s why what Isaiah Thomas has done in two-plus seasons should be considered extremely special.

We all know his story – Mr. Irrelevant. The last player taken in the 2011 NBA Draft. The small stature. Everything that seemingly could go against Thomas has. Yet, not only has he taken those road blocks in stride, he’s blown right through them. Even during his short NBA tenure the former Washington Huskie has dealt with non-needed adversity.

He wasn’t good enough to supplant the odd-ball trio of guards Keith Smart refused to budge from, despite outplaying them. Even under the new regime there were concerns which lead the team to acquire Greivis Vasquez. Again, Thomas shined and outplayed the Venezuelan native which eventually lead to his trade just months after he was acquired.

Finally given the starting role, Thomas continued to thrive.

Case in point (as a starter):

Player A) 21.3 points per game, 7.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 3.2 rebounds – including 47.1% from the field, 44.4% from the arc

Player B) 19.6 points per game, 11.2 assists, 2.4 steals, 4.6 rebounds – including 46.6% from the field, 35.6% from the arc.

Player A is Isaiah Thomas – Player B is Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.

No – I’m not comparing Thomas to Paul, but statistically the numbers are there for Thomas to be an NBA All-Star. And what we’ve seen from Thomas is plenty enough to  understand those are sustainable numbers for the fan favorite.

Yes, Thomas understandably would find a difficult road to New Orleans considering the All-Star game is a popularity contest and there are a handful of fellow NBA talents just as deserving, but Thomas hasn’t received as much as a sniff outside of the Sacramento area in regards to a possible All-Star birth – which is completely unfair. And keep in mind, he’s produced on what was one of the least stable franchises in professional sports before the sale to the Ranadive group – something other players struggled to do.

DeMarcus Cousins isn’t the only Sacramento King who should be representing the franchise at the 2014 NBA All-Star game – and that’s a fact.

Tags: Isaiah Thomas Sacramento Kings

  • David Echard

    IT is a sieve on defense. A majority of the PGs in the league put up great numbers against IT.
    That is why he’s not being considered. 2. He does not make the players around him better. 3. His numbers are bloated because he plays a ridiculous amount of minutes on one of the worst teams in the league. Lastly, his numbers do not equal more wins for the Kings. That’s why he’s not being considered an All-Star. Stats alone do not put you in that game. Justifiably so.

  • David Echard

    For this example, let’s compare IT (who is averaging about 8 assists per game since becoming a starter) and Ricky Rubio (who is averaging about 8 assists per game as a starter).

    * * * * * * *

    When I see Isaiah, I see a scorer who also gets some good assists. For the most part, he is looking for his own shot. There are times when he will set up teammates with great passes and crazy fast break bullets, but those are not as often.

    When I see Rubio, I see a natural passer who also gets some good buckets. For the most part, he is looking to pass. There are times when he will score multiple times in a row with floaters and three pointers, but those are not as often.

    Now, here’s what I have always thought about: Assists do not show passing in general. For example, let’s say there are 20 possessions that they both play per night (for the sake of a nice looking number). IT’s splits (based on what I have seen) could look like: 5 assists, 3 passes, 12 scoring attempts. Rubio’s, on the other hand, could look like: 5 assists, 10 passes, 5 scoring attempts. In other words, while they both picked good times to set up their teammates (5 assists per the 20 possessions), Rubio attempted to engage the offense more (10 passes to teammates that weren’t assists) while IT attempted to score more (3 passes to teammates that weren’t assists).

    What I am trying to say: Assists don’t tell the whole story. A guy might only get 5 assists per night but could be facilitating the offense throughout, while another guy may get 8 assists per night but those might have been the only 8 times he passed the ball all night. I have played with PG’s who set up guys for easy baskets that I would consider ball-hogs, as that would be the only time they would pass the ball. I have similarly played with guys who are fantastic to play with because they look for teammates first, and while they don’t always set their teammates up at the perfect time, they are always looking to get the ball moving.

    Rubio is a passer who tries to get the offense rolling. IT is a scorer who has great moments of setting teammates up while doing so. I prefer my PG to get the offense engaged, and that right now, that is not IT. I also like IT’s scoring punch of the bench back when he had that role. While we don’t necessarily need a Rubio (guys with his passing abilities do not come around that often), we do need a guy that is willing to get the offense flowing more than IT.

    * * * * * * *

    Defensively…well, that’s another story. IT tries, but just can’t contain his man. This, unfortunately, is where his height is a factor. He can certainly play with the best of them on offense, but he is at a disadvantage on defense. Even smaller guards (Kemba Walker) have a fairly easy time shooting over him, and when screens are involved, IT is simply too small to get around them effectively. Time and time again, IT has been beaten by his man, resulting in a straight lane to the basket (the lack of help defense and shot-blocking are not IT’s fault, but he shouldn’t be relying on that every play). Jeff Teague, Kemba Walker, Tony Parker, Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten…’s been a theme this year. Don’t count him out for effort, but the results just aren’t there.

    I suppose my biggest issue with IT is his defense. I don’t necessarily mind that he is a little ball-dominant and that he likes to shoot. That’s becoming the trend for PG’s nowadays. My concern, however, is that if he’s giving up so many easy baskets on the defensive end and then having a ball-dominant night on the offensive end, he’s really hurting us in multiple ways. I still love IT in the reserve role, like Bobby Jackson. He likes to score, so give him the keys and let him run the second unit! He thrived earlier in the season doing so, and then just keep him in at the end of the game (like with Jackson) for some superior clutch-shooting. I don’t think IT is the answer as a starting PG, but I also think it would be a mistake to let him go. He is very valuable, but is a stretch as a starting PG.

  • Jeff Fletcher

    Why compare Isaiah to Chris Paul when Chris Paul’s numbers are better? And when he is doing it for a better team? You also conveniently forgot about Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Damian Lillard. And that is just counting point guards, not shooting guards. And that matters in the NBAs ridiculous no position all star game.