Isaiah Thomas Remains Sacramento Kings’ Most Reliable Backcourt Option
On Wednesday night as the Sacramento Kings handily and surprisingly dispose of the Brooklyn Nets, there were two main takeaways. One is that this Nets team looks awful right now and is in trouble if they don’t start clicking soon. Two is that the Kings are a dangerous offensive team in the NBA when their guards are hitting shots.
In the win over Brooklyn, the Kings three leading scorers were all guards. New addition this season Greivis Vasquez notched a solid double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds while Isaiah Thomas added 19 points and trick-or-treat Marcus Thornton got hot and finished the game with 24 points. Contrarily, rookie Ben McLemore had a paltry game from the guard position, shooting just 1-8 from the field and finishing with just two points.
When the Kings have their backcourt working in the manner that they were on Wednesday night, it obviously works in their favor. This is a team, no matter how curiously assembled they may be, that thrives off of their offensive ability and really doesn’t play consistent defense. The problem with playing that way, though, is that their guards are almost all hit-or-miss types of players with the exception of Thomas.
For the year (prior to Wednesday’s game), Vasquez, Thornton and McLemore are all averaging nine points or fewer per game. They’ve had nice performances here and there, but it’s been a crap-shoot as to predicting when those games are coming. Thomas, on the other hand, has been brilliant all season long coming off of the bench.
Even before notching his 19 points, six assists and six boards against the Nets, Thomas has been the Kings second-best offensive player behind DeMarcus Cousins. In the six games before Wednesday, Thomas was averaging 18 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 36.8 percent shooting from long-distance. More than that, Thomas also leads Sacramento in assists per game at 4.5 and has scored in double figures in every game that the Kings have played this season.
Thomas talked a lot coming into this season about how he was going to prove himself as one of the better guards in the league and, though it might be a tad overlooked right now, he’s been doing just that. He can score in a variety of ways and just simply delivers consistently for a Kings team where that type of player is a rarity. If he keeps it up, it won’t be long before Thomas is getting the respect he believes that he’s due.