Sacramento Kings' Isaiah Thomas Makes A Case For Starting Job

By Karim Akbar
Kelley L Cox – USA TODAY Sports

First-year head coach Michael Malone is entering just his second week on the job, and he is already being confronted with his first problem of the season. No, it’s not DeMarcus Cousins‘ behavior — he’s been a saint. And it’s not the banishment of Jimmer Fredette to the bench because that is a non-story. Coach Malone must decide (quickly) what to do at point guard.

The Sacramento Kings brought Greivis Vasquez over in the Tyreke Evans deal to the New Orleans Pelicans. Since then Vasquez beat out the incumbent Isaiah Thomas in the preseason even as Isaiah outplayed him at every chance. Malone stuck with Greivis entering the regular season as well; Vasquez has started every game thus far with Thomas getting minutes off the bench. But Isaiah Thomas has been an absolute beast, and that of course brings up the million dollar question. Will Malone stick with Vasquez or will he go with Thomas? Well I don’t see Vasquez dapping it up in photos with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather like I.T. did. And as I watch TV I don’t see Vasquez in Reebok commercials; I do see Isaiah, though, which means a lot of people are watching Thomas and saying “OK, I see you young fella.”

However,  a couple national ad campaigns and some famous friends isn’t enough, right? What’s that you say? You want some stats? Well Thomas has trumped Vasquez there as well. Isaiah is not only playing more minutes than Vasquez he’s more than doubling his scoring output. Through four games — none of which he started — Thomas is averaging 20.8 points per game. Vasquez? Just nine points per game.

Greivis was brought in for his ballhandling abilities and pass-first mentality, but it is Thomas who leads the two in assists (4.8 assists per game to Vasquez’ 3.8 assists). Of course Isaiah is getting the lion’s share of his points against second-teams and Vasquez may buy himself some time to get back into the groove, but I believe coach Malone may ultimately stick with Vasquez as the long-term starter.

In the end, I would buy any talk or debate of him deserving more minutes. I believe he will have a career year in whichever role he’s relegated to this season, and if that’s the biggest problem coach Malone faces this season then I’ll take it.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings writer for Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” his RantSports page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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