Learning not to hate Isaiah Thomas!
How die-hard Lakers fans can learn to love instead of hate polarizing former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas
I admit it. I was an Isaiah Thomas hater. He checked off all the boxes usually needed to join the list of NBA players whom I loath. Part of it is obviously his heroics for the hated Greenies. Part of it is his horrible effort on defense. And part of it is that I like more size and length at every position, especially point guard. They may call it small ball but it’s only the front court that’s smaller, The guards and wings need to be bigger to help defend on switches. Finally, while I normally love guys with an edge, Isaiah always bugged me with his disdain for the Lakers, who passed an opportunity to sign him, mainly because of many of the same reasons I was a hater.
The last time I was in this situation was when the Lakers signed Dwight Howard, who remains firmly at the top of my NBA hate list. Try as hard as I could, I never got close to embracing Dwight and he turned many Lakers games during that era into true hatefests. You know, like when Kwame Brown was dropping passes or when Brick had his double air ball free throws game. When you find yourself screaming at your own team. Man, I hate those games. One of the best things about this year is those have been few and far between.
Can I get over my IT hate? If last night is any indication of what’s to come, I think I might even come to like Isaiah. I saw a Tweet last night that put it all in perspective. The Lakers just traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. for a player who almost averaged 30 points per game last year and received the fifth most votes for MVP and the cap space to sign two superstars and a first round draft pick? Now that’s a slam dunk trade if the IT we got was the injured one who played for the Cavs. But that’s not what we saw last night. The Isaiah Thomas we saw last night looked to me like a slightly rusty version of the guy who set the league afire last year.
Luke may have played him too many minutes but my eye test tells me the Lakers may have not only gotten the steal of last summer’s draft but also the steal of this winter’s trade deadline. The Celtics proved last year you could be a top 5 defensive team with Isaiah Thomas starting. The next step for the Lakers’ defense to take is to make adjustments in their switching to account for teams trying to isolate IT or Lonzo or whomever in a mismatch. The upcoming All-Star break should give the team a great chance to work on making the necessary adjustments.
While it was only one game, the trade for Isaiah Thomas is looking like genius move by the Lakers front office. He’s not one of the two superstars Magic wants but there’s no doubt a fully healthy IT is an offensive force to be reckoned with and the Lakers got him as the cherry on the top of a deal that was already a huge winner. Talk about low risk — high reward. It’s about having the trading chips to take advantage of opportunities that come up. Just as important as free agency. Now with cap space, draft picks, and great young talent, the Lakers have now found another diamond in the rough. And because of the situation, they should be able to find a way to keep him long term if he can continue to play well and fit in.
Guess I might have to learn to love me some Isaiah Thomas. LOL. :-)