March 20, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) scores a lay up against the Memphis Grizzlies during the fourth quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 119-110. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Isaiah Thomas, drafted 60th in last year's draft, has easily been the steal of the year. Since becoming the full-time starter at Point Guard on February 17th in Detroit, he's been averaging 14.6 Points (.489 FG%, .431 3P%), 3.2 Rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 30 minutes a game. He was the Western Conference Rookie of the Month last month, and has leapfrogged several other rookies to land at #2 in several national "Rookie Rankings" lists. Isaiah's PER of 17.3 is 3rd among rookies that have played significant minutes, behind only Kenneth Faried and Kyrie Irving.
Despite how good his personal numbers have been, his impact on the play of the Kings has been even greater, and that is the basis the Sacramento Kings are using in their new Rookie of the Year campaign for Isaiah. Per the Sacramento Kings' Twitter Page, since Isaiah has taken over as starter, the Kings have been 1st in Possessions per Game, 1st in Fastbreak Points per Game, 2nd in Points in the Paint per Game, and 2nd in Overall Points per Game. Those are some pretty big numbers that I'm going to add to.
Since Isaiah took over as starter the Kings have had 20 or more assists in 13 of 18 games compared to hitting that number just 8 times in the previous 29 games. The Kings also have had 7 games with at least 25 assists, when the previous high had been just 23. Field Goal % in the first 29 games for the Kings was a mere 40.5% before Isaiah started and jumped up to 45.8% with Isaiah in the starting lineup.
Isaiah may have no chance at winning Rookie of the Year, not with how well Kyrie Irving has played all year, but he definitely deserves to at least be in the conversation. In Isaiah Thomas, the Kings have found the floor general they have so desperately needed. He is winning fans both on and off the court, and looks to be a significant building block for this franchise for many years to come.