Will Isaiah Thomas Retain the Starting Point Guard Position?



Sacramento Kings’ Isaiah Thomas had a remarkable rookie season. This, in spite of being the 2011 NBA Draft 2nd Round Pick, 60th overall. He was named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for two straight months. Early in his rookie season, Sacramento Kings fans noticed the spark he brought to the game when he came off the bench. It was Head Coach Keith Smart, who decided to give Isaiah Thomas his spot in the starting lineup as his skills became apparent to him. Fans rejoiced as his play matched up well against the top point guards in the league. While Isaiah Thomas is not considered one of the elite Point Guards in the league, right now, he had a very favorable season in his rookie year. Basketball-reference.com shows he averaged 16.3 points and 5.8 assists, per 36 minutes.

Out of 65 games last season, Isaiah Thomas started in 37 of them. His minutes increased after he took over the starting position. Condition-wise, playing time never seemed to be an issue for him, as he seemed to have energy to burn every time he stepped on the floor. His undeniable work ethic prepared him to seize opportunity when it presented itself.

Up until recently, I don’t think there was a question whether he would retain the starting position- not unless the Kings were to pick up a recognized elite point guard to replace him, like Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, or Steve Nash. That didn’t happen. So, who or what would cause some of the recent rumblings about uncrowning Isaiah Thomas from his starting point guard position?

For all appearances, Isaiah Thomas had put the capstone on the starting position for the upcoming 2012-2013 season, hadn’t he?

Two months ago, Aaron Brooks was picked up by the Sacramento Kings in a 2-year deal, ostensibly to add depth, not as an upgrade. Brooks, was signed, when Jimmer Fredette, the 10th overall 2011 NBA Draft pick, played in the 2012 NBA Summer League, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I wrote about Aaron Brook’s addition to the Sacramento Kings’ roster a couple of months ago. Brooks was rising on the NBA radar his 2009-1010 NBA season. Then, in his fourth NBA Season, he suffered an ankle injury, only to return to have his starting position taken by Kyle Lowry, who went on to have a great season. Last season, he played in China.

It was Fredette’s future with the Sacramento Kings that remained unclear when the Kings added Brooks to the team, according to Sam Amick, writer for Sports Illustrated, who wrote about it in his column, in July of this year. It was assumed adding Brooks to the team was a back-up plan or a step to replace Fredette.

Now rumors are rumbling, as to whether this could turn out to be drama for Isaiah Thomas holding on to the starting position, many assumed was his. Had the Sacramento Kings, in fact, added Brooks to take over the starting point guard position? Tom Ziller, over at Sactown Royalty brings up the question:

"The question that has surrounded Brooks thus far, though, is whether he’ll be a full-time back-up, or whether he’ll push Isaiah Thomas for the starting job."

It remains unclear whether Aaron Brooks was signed merely to add depth, possibly allow the Kings to shop Fredette, or whether they may have an eye on his replacing Isaiah Thomas for the starting point guard position. Coach Smart will ultimately be the one who makes the decision upon who is given the reins for the starting spot.

Right now, Brooks is a bit of an unknown quantity, given his past couple of seasons. While the Sacramento Kings don’t need any more drama on their plate, a little competition between players will hopefully bring out the best in each one. Given Thomas’ strong work ethic, his determination to overcome odds, and his fit with his teammates, my money is on him retaining the starting position.