For many Kings fans, the Isaiah Thomas topic has been talked about ad nauseam since the Kings decided not to bring him back.
I understand those that want to just move on. We can't change what happened. Thomas is now a member of the Phoenix Suns and the Kings have two new Point Guards in Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions. Yet Thomas continues to rise up in the conversation, especially after nights like Wednesday in which the Kings offense looked abysmal (30.8% from the field, 13 assists to 26 turnovers) and Thomas scoring 23 points on 9-11 shooting in just 20 minutes for Phoenix.
Recently, Thomas sat down with Zach Lowe of Grantland and rehashed what went down with Sacramento this summer, as well as the not-so-subtle shots taken at him by Cousins and other players. Thomas didn't necessarily offer anything new to the conversation, but it came up yet again because the decision to not retain him remains extremely controversial. It's very rare for an NBA team to let a restricted Free Agent, particularly one as good as Isaiah Thomas, walk for basically nothing. It says something that a team seemingly already set at the Point Guard position with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe still went after Thomas with gusto.
The main talking point given as to why the Kings let Thomas go has been a need to focus on ball movement and pushing the pace. The offense was supposed to be more refined, with the ball sticking less and moving more. Yes, we lost a talented scorer in Thomas, but we'd make up for it by spreading the wealth and everyone else scoring more! Instead, what transpired last night was an offensive performance that was simply offensive. The Kings didn't have a game that bad offensively all of last season. Both the 30.8% from the field and the 26 turnovers were worse than any game from the entirety of last season or even the season before. You have to go all the way back to February 16th, 2011 to find a game in which we last had 26 turnovers, and that was a game where we started Jermaine Taylor at Shooting Guard.
Let me make this clear. This isn't about Darren Collison. In fact, Darren Collison (along with Carl Landry) is probably one of the only Kings who can hold their heads up high after last night. Collison struggled to make shots (as did most of his teammates), but he ran the offense well (8 of Sacramento's 13 assists and only 1 turnover) and played tough defense. He did almost everything I wanted to see out of my starting Point Guard. It was everyone else who was slacking.
After the game, Collison and other players talked about a lack of trust. That starts up top with guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. If they can't be trusted to run the offense and find open guys, nobody else is going to want to follow suit. The Kings talking about moving the ball more post-Isaiah implies that Isaiah was a problem there, and that he couldn't have learned a new system that saw him dribble less and move more. That means there's nobody to blame but themselves if they don't execute now.
There are no more scapegoats. This team has to step up and take a hard look in the mirror before yet another season has them looking up in the standings, waiting on next year. The Kings said they'd be better without Isaiah. Now's the time to go ahead and prove it, because if they can't, they'll be hearing about it for years.