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Isaiah Thomas has been Sacramento's second best player this season. That much is certain, but is Thomas in the starting role in the teams best interest? let's take a look
Here's what we know about Isaiah: He is an undersized point guard with score-first mentality. His effort is always there although he can be a liability on the defensive end at times. He is shooting a respectable 44.6% while averaging 20 points and 6 assists a game. This should put him in the upper tier of starting point guards in the league.
Theres one issue: Despite these numbers, Sacramento is still not winning games.
Isaiah is taking 15.4 shots a game-more than Rudy Gay, and almost on par with Cousins- on a 17 win ball club. I.T. started the season as a super-6th man- and I mean SUPER- averaging 16 points and 4 assists in around 27 minutes a game.
Early in the season, Greivis Vasquez was the starter and Isaiah was the closer, a role that was fitting for his scorer's mentality. While Greivis was not a great defender, (ok he was a pretty awful defender) he averaged a solid 5.4 assists while still working himself back from injury. I felt like the offense was initiated quicker and the ball usually went to the right player whether it was Cousins in the post after previous success, or lobs to Mclemore and Derrick Williams.
I am NOT Saying the Kings should have kept Vasquez over Thomas. I am saying that a player with with a facilitator's mentality (and decent defensive skills) would go a long way for this team that has primary scorers in Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton (for now) in the starting line up.
According to Jason Jones and the Sacramento Bee, The coaching staff and front office, "are fans of Thomas but realize he's a scorer first and knowing when to dial down his offense is a process. And barring the addition of a player similar to Vasquez, the Kings need Thomas to continue to improve as a facilitator."
I realize there is no real alternative on the roster as a starting point guard, since we all know the player "Who we all are thinking of but whose name we dare not say aloud" is not effective as the primary ball handler. That is one reason Isaiah is the starter and forced to play a team leading 34.1 minutes a game.
A player in the fashion of a Rondo or a Carter-Williams is what I am talking about. Defend, move the ball, and score when needed. A move to the bench no doubt would anger Isaiah but I believe an angry Isaiah is good for us and bad news for the rest of the league. The top priority for Sacramento should be finding such a player through the draft, free agency, or even trades if reasonable, as long as they continues to build around Cousins, Gay and Mclemore.
At this point, Isaiah is the starter and will remain the starter for the rest of the year, no matter the moves Sacramento makes by the trade deadline. I love I.T. He's a great player and is more than capable carrying the team in the crunch. I simply feel his skills are best suited off the bench on a team with numerous scorers.
Of course this whole argument could be a moot point if I.T. leaves via restricted free agency...