In the 2016-17 NBA season, Washington Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas was balling. With the Celtics that season, the 5’9″ Thomas appeared in 76 regular-season games, averaged 28.9 points per game, was second in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, and he was an All-Star and second-team All-NBA. Thomas had an MVP-caliber season.
Also, the Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference and would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they were beaten 4-1 by the Cavaliers in that series. Due to an injured hip, Thomas would play only two games against the Cavs.
Throughout the 2016-17 season, the talk was about how much money Thomas was going to get in the offseason. Based on his performance that season, it seemed that Thomas would get a max deal, but the injury changed things, and ultimately during that summer, Thomas, who fought through the injury that season and even played after the death of his sister, was shipped to Cleveland in a deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston.
Unfortunately, Thomas struggled to return from the hip injury with Cleveland, and after 15 games with the Cavaliers, he was dealt to the Lakers in the 2017-18 season. Thomas played 17 games with the Lakers and averaged 15 points per game before getting another surgery on his hip.
Last season, the 30-year-old Thomas signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Nuggets, but did not get as much playing time as he hoped. This summer, Thomas signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Wizards, and with the injury to John Wall, this is an excellent opportunity for Thomas.
Thomas has started 19 games for the Wizards and is averaging 13.9 points per game and 4.9 assists, and according to Thomas, he’s starting to become himself again.
“I’m feeling more and more like myself,” Thomas told goforitradio after the Wizards’ 107-100 loss to the Knicks on Saturday night. “I’m as healthy as I’m gonna be, slowly getting my rhythm back, slowly feeling like myself.”
When asked he feels like he can duplicate what he did in 2016-17, Thomas had this to say:
“If given the opportunity.”
It’s hard not to root for Thomas. This guy has overcome a lot to get to this point. Whether it’s being drafted late in the second round, or whether it’s his height, Thomas has always found a way to come out on top. In watching Thomas on Saturday night, you can see that he is not entirely where he wants to be. At times, you saw flashes of his 2017 self, and at other times, you saw a player trying to find his rhythm.
Can he be that guy again? I’m not sure, but I know one thing, I’m sure rooting for it to happen.