Not so long ago, Isaiah Thomas was one of the most beloved and respected players in the NBA, as he had overcoming a lot of obstacles to make it to the highest of levels in the league despite always being against the odds.
After being drafted with the last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, being the shortest player in the league wasn’t something to brag about, and Sac-Town wasn’t truly willing to give him a shot to be their starting playmaker.
With the Kings trading Thomas to a fully stacked Phoenix Suns to try and share minutes with Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Seth Curry, it looked like Thomas was never going to have a slight shot at even making the rotation.
Thomas shoved it up and proved his value once again, up to the point where Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics were interested in his services and traded for him the very next season.
Thomas made an instant impact in Boston and became a huge fan favorite right away, making a fool of defenders with his great ball handling skills and streaky scoring, even when coming off the bench.
The very next year he was traded to Boston, his great performances earned him the honor of being selected as an All-Star reserve, and it looked like his career was finally ready to take off and become one of the league’s best players.
The tweener guard balled his life out for the Celtics and earned a starting spot under Brad Stevens tutelage even despite his huge defensive flaws, leading the league in points in the 4th quarter and taking the Boston Celtics to the playoffs despite not having much talent on their roster.
He had an amazing season with the Celtics, averaging 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Performing like a perennial All-Star, Thomas made his way to the MVP conversation, although the lack of collective success the Boston Celtics had truly hurt his chances, not to mention his non-existent defense.
Furthermore, it looked like Thomas was going to be a member of the Boston Celtics for life after he kept playing with broken teeth and even stuck with the team when his sister tragically died during the playoffs.
Thomas found his way to the heart of Boston fans even despite missing the rest of the postseason with a back injury, and that’s exactly when his surging career took a major downfall that he may never be able to climb back from.
Everyone expected that Danny Ainge would offer him 4-year contract ($80-100 million), but that was just a dream for Isaiah Thomas, the 5th MVP candidate for the 16-17 NBA season.
According to Jalen Rose, Isaiah Thomas cost himself $100 million by playing hurt for the Celtics.
The Celtics were the No. 1 seed, just think about this, and Isaiah Thomas was dealing with a personal tragedy, the loss of his sister, but he was also dealing with an injury. They said it was in one place. It was not in that place. It ended up being in his hip. Therefore, when they traded him, he was already quote unquote damaged goods to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Remember, the trade was rescinded. The Cavs had to accept Isaiah Thomas injured. Once he went to the Cavs he was already hurt, he only played a handful of games there. The training staff of the Boston Celtics got let go because of it. Now, Isaiah Thomas, two teams later, is a substitute going into free agency injured. After now finally getting surgery. That cost him $100 million. No question about it.
With him set to become a free agent and Kyrie Irving’s reported desire to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Ainge sent his clutch scorer to their very own Conference rivals in order to get Uncle Drew’s services, one of the most controversial moves we’ve seen in years.
The Cavs dominated early on but then mightily struggled with inconsistency and lack of scoring off the bench, two areas where Thomas was going to be vastly welcome, or at least that was everybody was hoping.
There was a lot of bad blood between him, a Celtic; and the rest of his teammates, especially LeBron James, another ball-dominant player that didn’t allow Thomas to thrive and get his rhythm back with the rock on his hands.
Upon his return, Thomas became the team’s scapegoat, and his harsh comments on the team’s situation didn’t do much to help his cause. Also, with his horrid performances in both ends of the hardwood, the Cavs pretty much gave him away to the Lakers amid a major roster overhaul.
Thomas was able to get some of his grooves back with the Lakers, making the most of the chance to back up Lonzo Ball and even step up when he was forced to miss playing time, but he didn’t look anywhere near the kind of player he was before injuring his back.
So, after being a lock to get paid a lot of money in free agency this summer, Thomas isn’t even getting serious attention and long-term offers from any team in the league, except Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets.
Just a few days ago, he signed a veteran minimum contract for the Denver Nuggets. He will probably come off the bench because Denver Nuggets already have Jamal Murray as their point guard of the future.
Life has been tough in the NBA for Thomas, being pretty much back to the starting point. Hopefully, Isaiah Thomas will find a way to turn things around and prove his value once again pretty soon.