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More Tidbits from Isaiah Thomas' Q&A with SB Nation

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James Herbert sent along some more thoughts from Isaiah that didn't make it into his main Q&A post yesterday.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't yet read James Herbert's excellent Q&A with Isaiah Thomas on SB Nation yet, I highly recommend you do so. James was kind enough to send me some more tidbits from his interview with Isaiah that didn't make it into that piece. In the following, Isaiah gives his thoughts on his teammates, being a leader and even his thoughts on the dunk contest (spoiler alert: he didn't like it).

  • In various interviews, Thomas has listed Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Jason Terry, Nate McMillan, Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas, Damon Stoudamire and Muggsy Bogues as mentors. On being a protege to so many: "I have a long list, man. It's all about who you know. And I use that to the best of my ability. I know a lot of former NBA players, a lot of NBA players that are in the league now and I just, I'm willing to learn and learn from those guys ‘cause I look up to ‘em and that's about it."

  • So, is there anyone we who's helping him that don't know about? "Trying to think. Not really. I namedrop a lot."

  • Thomas' mother has spoken about getting a hoop at home for him when he was six years old. He had been obsessed with basketball since he was four. Thomas doesn't remember that day specifically, but he said, "They just always tell me that I always had a ball in my hands. No matter if I had a hoop or anything, I always had a little ball in my hands. And then once I did get my hoop, it was so hard to get me off of it. That's just like today, I stay in the gym, I love being in the gym and I love getting better."

  • On Rudy Gay: "He's talented, man. He's a guy that demands attention. A talented basketball player. One of the most talented basketball players that I've played with, skill set-wise. Great dude, a leader, a veteran that's been around the game for a while. Just somebody that knows the game of basketball and is respected around the locker room."

  • Does it help that Rudy's actually been to the playoffs before? "It definitely helps. When he says something, guys listen because he's seen it, he's been around it, he's had good years in his career, he's made a lot of money. Someone that's been in the playoffs, the only thing that you can do is listen, especially if you haven't been there. Even a guy like Aaron Gray, he's been to the playoffs and he talks about it, how it's just a different level of basketball and it's the most fun time of the year. It's something I want to experience sooner rather than later."

  • More on Gray: "He's a great guy, man. A veteran, a guy that knows the game of basketball. He's a respectful guy. He works hard no matter if he's gonna play or not. He's in the gym working before practice, after practice, in the weight room. And just a veteran that you need on your team. A great guy. Doesn't think about himself, worries about getting the next guy better, and can't say enough about him. He's a true professional."

  • On DeMarcus Cousins: "He's a funny guy, a guy that's always joking around. Totally opposite of what people see on the court. Very talented. One of the best, if not the best big man in the NBA. I don't think he understands or knows how talented he is or can be right now. Talented. That's all I can say. Very talented. But off the court he's a funny guy, man. Always joking around, always got a smile on his face, always trying to make the next man laugh. He's a great guy to be around."

  • Does he try give rookie Ben McLemore advice? "Yeah. But for the most part, I'm just talking to him on the court, keeping his confidence up. Knowing that, about this NBA, don't let your highs get too high or your lows get too low. Be even-keeled and worry about the next day, what you can do better the next day. The one thing about the NBA, there's a game the next day or the next few days and you can always play better. I just try to keep his confidence up, that's the main thing. Especially with young players, you want to be as confident as you can possibly be."

  • After a couple of questions about ex-Washington Huskies teammate and current Toronto Raptors swingman Terrence Ross, Thomas said Ross would have won the dunk contest this year if not for the new format. I volunteered that I didn't like the format. "Nobody did," Thomas replied. "Nobody did."