Isaiah Thomas' Journey Back To The NBA Just Got A Little More Interesting
Hell yes. What, you thought just because Isaiah was off the Celts that I still wouldn't be driving this bandwagon? I'll never get off, that is a promise. It's been a long road back for Isaiah to crack an NBA roster, and it's awesome to see that dream is not dead yet. He's not a perfect player, but if he's healthy (and everything we hear and see suggests he is), he has NBA talent. I'll forever believe that and the most recent production confirms it. In 40 games in 2019-20, Isaiah put up 12.2/1.7/3.7 on 40/41% shooting with 2.0 3PM in 23 minutes a night. It's not like he has a ton of miles on his legs, and given the right opportunity, there could be something there for a team that needs bench help.
That's why I really like that he's signing with the Nuggets G-League team. I think it helps that he's been there before and their head coach loves him. Isaiah and Malone go back to their SAC years. It's also true that given all their injuries/covid/etc that the Nuggets could really use some infusion into that second unit. Especially at the guard spot. In terms of bench scoring, the Nuggets are 26th in the NBA. They are also 26th in FG% and 16th in 3P%. Their guard rotation currently looks like this while they wait for Jamal Murray to come back
Monte Morris (starter)
Bones Hyland (rookie)
Austin Rivers (out)
You can see why they are kicking the tires here. They are a little redundant with Facu and Isaiah both being small as shit, but again, look at the numbers I just wrote out when it comes to their bench production. If they can get the same type of scoring that the Wizards did in 2019-20, that's a win.
There are also realities when you bring in Isaiah. You're going to have to overcompensate for his defense. It's not an effort thing, it's simply a height thing. Teams will target him, but the Nuggets have experience in doing just that since Facu is there. That's the downside. The upside is you can use Isaiah as both an on ball and off ball player. Him and Jokic can run P&R, and his three point shooting is good enough to where you can have him weakside for Jokic to just find when teams double.
Listen, joining a G-League roster doesn't guarantee jack. I think we all know that. But I can't possibly understand how if you are a basketball fan, you aren't rooting for an Isaiah comeback. Given everything that went down with his injury, his commitment to the comeback even when things didn't always look great, it's an awesome story that everyone can get behind.