Isaiah Thomas has struggled to find a consistent role in the NBA since a hip injury during the 2017 playoffs robbed him of much of his explosiveness. He split the 2017-18 season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers after multiple trades, and then signed with the Denver Nuggets for the 2018-19 campaign, but appeared in only 12 games on a deep contender. He saw steadier playing time in 40 games as a Washington Wizard last season, but has thus far been unable to parlay that into another NBA job.
But Thomas told Yahoo's Chris Haynes that he is discussing a return to the league with multiple teams and that he has hired Bernie Lee of Quartexx Basketball to represent him in those discussions. As teams continue to struggle with depth in light of COVID-19, Thomas' offensive production could provide meaningful value to teams that are struggling to create offense with multiple key players missing games.
While Thomas was far from his old self last season, he shot over 41 percent on 3-pointers while averaging 12.2 points per game for the Wizards. Where he has fallen off is in his ability to get to the basket. The speedy Thomas took seven shots per game in the restricted area during his 2016-17 All-Star season, but in Washington, that figure fell to only 1.1. Without his trademark explosiveness. Thomas has had to reinvent his offensive game.
That became a problem in recent years due to his size. At 5-9, Thomas is one of the shortest players in the NBA, and that has made him a liability on defense. The Celtics could live with that because he was scoring nearly 30 points per game. Now that he isn't, his defensive weaknesses become more glaring.
But Thomas can still shoot, and that will always be a premium NBA skill. While Thomas is unlikely to play a major role on a contender any time soon, he should be able to provide meaningful spot minutes for thin rosters in need of scoring. According to Haynes, the league seems to agree, and Thomas could find himself on a roster in the near future.