This is a sponsored post, however the content was written entirely and sincerely by me. -- TZ
As Aykis wrote in his weekly GB&U, the offseason was not kind to the Sacramento Kings. The John Salmons trade hasn't solidified the position; Salmons has been so unproductive that Keith Smart has already resorted to moving Tyreke Evans to the three. Chuck Hayes has suffered injuries and has seen his role tossed around like pizza dough. (What happened to the assertions from the front office that he was exactly what the starting five needed? Did Westphal pack those up in his box when he left?) J.J. Hickson has been rough. Travis Outlaw has been even more rough. Travis Outlaw is making loose grit sandpaper look like silk. Marcus Thornton, re-signed for big bucks, has been wholly inconsistent. Jimmer Fredette has been OK, but not the instant offense the team thought he'd be.
But the one player picked up or retained in the offseason that the Kings' front office can point to as a total success doubles as the one player who seems to change the game every time he steps on the floor ... and usually for the better. That player was the last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft: Isaiah Thomas.
You aren't supposed to get usable players with the No. 60 pick. That's why so many late second-round picks are used on foreign prospects unlikely to ever reach the NBA: teams don't float around with extra roster spots to use on fringe players. When any second-round pick 'makes it' in the NBA, it is notable. The last pick of the second round? It's doubly so.
Thomas has already ascended into the starting lineup, and not because of injury. He's there because he provides something consistently than no one outside of perhaps DeMarcus Cousins does: energy, energy, energy. Thomas pushes the tempo, he works to get the crowd going at home. He's unafraid to take big shots, he knows how to spread the floor and he is a pesky defender. He's not perfect, and unlike so many first-round picks, his ceiling is visible. But that's OK. He knows what to do, and he does it.
He's been a huge breeze of fresh air in an otherwise murky season for Sacramento, and I'm glad he's a King.