Sacramento Kings' point guard Isaiah Thomas has been a pretty incredible story. It's hard enough for guys who stand 5'9" to make the NBA and stay on a team. He was the 60th and final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Kings and immediately started finding his way onto the court. He finally earned the full-time starting job part of the way into his third season (this season) and will enter restricted free agency this summer as a pretty incredible prospect for many teams.
Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards, Thomas helped lead the Kings to a victory by notching a triple-double with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Get me on the court and I'm trouble Last week messed around and got a triple double #TodayWasAgoodDay— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas2) March 19, 2014
It's a nice signature moment toward the end of a fantastic season for Thomas. He's averaging 20.6 points and 6.4 assists while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from 3-point range. He's 25th in the NBA in PER and is sixth in fourth quarter points.
Thomas has been a pretty dynamic weapon for a struggling Kings team that is figuring out how to be competitive. Kings' coach Michael Malone praised the point guard after the game for the heart he showed. From the Sacramento Bee:
“Isaiah is someone that gets a lot of criticism for being a guy that may not be a true point guard,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “You can call him a lot of things but you have to give him his props because he's a warrior and he has a huge heart. For him to go out there and get 24-11-10 while being the smallest guy on the court was tremendous. The fact that he did it against one of the rising stars in the game, John Wall, is that much more impressive. I'm really proud of Isaiah and his first career triple-double. I'm sure it won't be his last. We just need more of that from him.”
It will be interesting to watch the restricted free agency market for Thomas this coming summer. Restricted free agents are an odd player for teams to go after because there isn't a guarantee you'll get them, even if they agree to an offer sheet. You're at the mercy of their current team matching or not matching, and once the offer sheet has been signed, there is no working out a sign-and-trade.
Will teams be willing to tie up cap space for a couple of days while waiting to see if the price tag is high enough for the Kings to decline matching? What would it take to pry Thomas from the Kings and is he worth the type of deal someone like Brandon Jennings recently signed with the Detroit Pistons?