Isaiah Thomas (basketball)
Isaiah Jamar Thomas (born February 7, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 5-foot-9-inch (1.75 m) point guard played three years of college basketball for the Washington Huskies and was a three-time all-conference selection in the Pac-10. After electing to forgo his senior year in college, Thomas was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the final pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He spent three seasons with the Kings before joining the Phoenix Suns in 2014. Thomas was traded to the Boston Celtics in February 2015 and went on to earn NBA All-Star nods in 2016 and 2017, as well as All-NBA Team honors in 2017 after leading the Celtics to the first seed in the Eastern Conference. In August 2017, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and later, at midseason, to the Los Angeles Lakers. In July 2018, Thomas joined the Nuggets.
Thomas with the Celtics in 2017
|No. 0 – Denver Nuggets|
|Born||February 7, 1989|
|Listed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school||Curtis (University Place, Washington)|
South Kent School
(South Kent, Connecticut)
|NBA draft||2011 / Round: 2 / Pick: 60th overall|
|Selected by the Sacramento Kings|
|2018||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Thomas was named after former Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas when his father, James, bet his friend that his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, would defeat the Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals (which the Pistons won in a four-game sweep). The younger Thomas ended up being born months before the Finals took place, but James had already warmed to the name, which his mother, Tina Baldtrip, insisted on spelling Isaiah, as she desired a Biblical name. He was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. As a child, he had the nicknames "Bighead" (or Head) from his father and "Zeke" from his mother, after Isiah Thomas's nickname.
High school career
Thomas attended Curtis Senior High School in University Place, Washington, through 11th grade, and then transferred to South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut, to repeat the 11th grade because of academic deficiencies. He graduated from South Kent School in 2008. At Curtis, Thomas averaged 31.2 points as a junior. He called a news briefing on April 20, 2006, to announce his intention to sign with the University of Washington.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|South Kent, Connecticut||South Kent School||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)||170 lb (77 kg)||Apr 19, 2006|
|Recruiting star ratings: Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: ESPN grade: 76|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 2 (PG); 22 (school) Rivals: 14 (PG); 92 (national)|
Thomas received the blessing of Nate Robinson, the former Washington Huskies star, to wear his No. 2 jersey. In an exhibition game against Western Washington, Thomas scored 27 points on 9-of-12 field goals. He scored a season-high 27 points in an 81–67 home win over Morgan State on December 30, 2008. This surpassed his previous high of 19 points scored in a 74–51 blowout over Florida International on November 20.
Thomas made an immediate impact upon arrival for the Washington Huskies during the 2008–09 season, for he averaged 15.5 points, 2.6 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game as a true freshman. He was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, his output continued to improve, as his averages rose to 16.9 points, 3.2 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. He was selected first team All-Pac-10.
Thomas was again named first team All-Pac-10 in his junior year. On March 12, 2011, Thomas scored 28 points and hit a game-winning buzzer beater in overtime to lead the Huskies to victory over Arizona in the championship game of the Pac-10 tournament. He was among the final ten candidates for the Bob Cousy Award in his junior season.
Sacramento Kings (2011–2014)
Before the 2011 NBA draft, Thomas participated in his own pre-draft documentary entitled "Road To The NBA-The Isaiah Thomas Story". Thomas was drafted as the 60th pick by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft. He was the final pick in the draft. On February 19, 2012, Thomas recorded his first double-double with 23 points and 11 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On March 1, 2012, Thomas was named the February Western Conference NBA Rookie of the Month after averaging 12.2 points and 4.4 assists per game in February. This was the first time that someone who was picked last in the NBA draft ever won the Rookie of the Month award. On April 2, 2012, Thomas was once again named Western Conference NBA Rookie of the Month after averaging 13.6 points and 4.9 assists per game in the month of March. Thomas was also named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team and finished seventh in NBA Rookie of the Year voting.
On January 19, 2014, Thomas scored a then-career-high 38 points in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Five days later, he tied this total against the Indiana Pacers. On March 18, 2014, he recorded his first career triple-double with 24 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a 117–111 overtime win over the Washington Wizards; giving him status as the shortest player to ever record a triple-double in the NBA. During the 2013–14 season, Thomas joined the likes of Calvin Murphy (twice), Dana Barros, Damon Stoudamire, and Michael Adams as the only players under 6 ft (1.8 m) tall to average over 20 points per game and 6 assists per game in a season.
Phoenix Suns (2014–2015)
On July 12, 2014, Thomas was acquired by the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade deal that also sent the rights of Alex Oriakhi to the Kings. On August 14, 2014, Thomas underwent a successful arthroscopy of his left wrist, for an injury he sustained in the previous season. He went on to make his debut for the Suns in the team's season-opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. He recorded 23 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound in a 119–99 win. In the Suns' next game on October 31, Thomas again recorded 23 points in a 94–89 win over the San Antonio Spurs, becoming just the fourth Sun, joining Tom Chambers, A. C. Green, and Tom Gugliotta, to score at least 23 points in his first two games with the team.
After missing eight games with an ankle injury, Thomas returned to action on December 12 as he scored 10 points in the Suns' 103–105 loss to the Detroit Pistons. On January 21, 2015, he recorded a season-high 27 points off the bench in a 118–113 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. On February 5, Thomas was announced as a contestant for the NBA Skills Challenge, making him the shortest contestant to ever participate in the event.
Boston Celtics (2015–2017)
On February 19, 2015, Thomas was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round pick. Three days later, he made his debut for the Celtics in a 118–111 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 21 points off the bench. On March 2, 2015, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, February 23 through Sunday, March 1. He later missed eight games throughout March with a bruised lower back. On April 8, 2015, he scored a season-high 34 points in a 113–103 win over the Detroit Pistons. He subsequently earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Monday, April 6 through Sunday, April 12. In his first career playoff game on April 19, Thomas recorded 22 points and 10 assists in a first-round Game 1 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics went on to lose to the Cavaliers in a four-game clean sweep, as Thomas averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 assists per game over the series. As a result of his sixth-man role with both Phoenix and Boston in 2014–15, Thomas finished second in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award voting with 324 points, including 33 first-place votes.
On December 16, 2015, Thomas tied his then-career high of 38 points in a 119–116 loss to the Detroit Pistons. On January 28, 2016, he was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. Thomas became the lowest draft pick to be named an All-Star since the NBA draft was reduced to two rounds in 1989. He also became just the ninth player under 6 feet (1.8 m) to be named an All-Star, while also tying Calvin Murphy as the shortest player to be selected for the All-Star Game. On February 8, 2016, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, February 1 through Sunday, February 7. Thomas led the Celtics to a 4–0 week, including a road victory against the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers, and averaged 20.3 points (12th in the East), 7.0 assists (tied for fourth in the conference) and 4.5 rebounds. With the Celtics down 2–0 to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, Thomas scored a then-career-high 42 points in Game 3 in Boston to lift the Celtics to a 111–103 win. He became just the ninth Celtic to score 40 points in a playoff game. With 28 points in Game 4, Thomas helped the Celtics even the series at 2–2 with a 104–95 overtime win. However, the Celtics went on to lose the series 4–2.
Over the first 21 games of the 2016–17 season, Thomas scored 20 points or more in every contest but one. After returning from a four-game absence in early December with a groin strain, Thomas continued to put up big numbers. On December 20, he scored a then-career-high 44 points, including 36 after halftime, in a 112–109 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He also matched his career best for three-pointers, going 7-of-10 from outside the arc. He subsequently earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Monday, December 19 through Sunday, December 25. On December 30 against Miami, he scored 29 of his career-high 52 points in the fourth quarter, setting a franchise record for points in a period and leading Boston to a 117–114 victory over the Heat. Thomas hit six of his nine three-pointers in the fourth and broke the franchise record of 24 points in a quarter set by Larry Bird in 1983 and matched by Todd Day in 1995. Thomas' 52 points was the fourth-highest scoring total in Celtics history—Bird holds the record with 60 points in March 1985.
On January 3, 2017, Thomas recorded 29 points and a career-high 15 assists in a 115–104 win over the Utah Jazz. On January 21, he had a 41-point effort in a 127–123 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, marking his 14th 30-plus point game of the season. On January 26, he was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Thomas averaged 32.9 points in January, marking the third-highest monthly average in team history—Paul Pierce averaged 33.5 in February 2006, and Larry Bird averaged 33.1 points in February 1988. On February 2, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January. He led the NBA in scoring (32.9 ppg) and tied for fifth in the East in assists (6.9 apg) for the month as the Celtics went 10–4 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division. On February 15, he scored 33 points in a 116–108 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. It was his 40th straight 20-point game, tying the team record set by John Havlicek during the 1971–72 season. The following day, he had 29 points in a 104–103 loss to the Chicago Bulls, going 8 for 18 from the field in his 41st straight game with at least 20 points, breaking Havlicek's team record. With just 19 points against the Atlanta Hawks on February 27, Thomas' franchise-record streak of consecutive 20-point games ended at 43. It was just the second time this season he did not register at least 20 points in a game. On March 12 against Chicago, Thomas hit his 200th three-point shot of the season, becoming the third Celtics player all-time to reach that mark along with Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce. With 32 points against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 29, Thomas became just the sixth Celtic ever to score 2,000 points in a single season. He also extended his streak with at least one three-pointer to a franchise-best 50 straight games.
Thomas led the Celtics to a first-round win over the Chicago Bulls after learning the day before the series began that his younger sister, Chyna Thomas, had died in a car accident outside of his native Tacoma, Washington. After the Celtics defeated the Bulls 4–2, he flew cross-country to attend her funeral. He returned to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and had 33 points and nine assists in helping the Celtics defeat the Washington Wizards 123–111. In Game 2 against Washington, Thomas scored 53 points—the second-highest total in Celtics playoff history—to help Boston win 129–119 in overtime and take a 2–0 lead in the series. He became just the fifth Celtic to score 50 or more points in a postseason game, missing John Havlicek's team record by one point. In Game 7 against Washington, Thomas scored 29 points and had 12 assists to help the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2012 with a 115–105 win and a 4–3 series victory. After the Celtics lost the first two games of the conference finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thomas was ruled out for the remainder of the postseason with a hip injury.
Cleveland Cavaliers (2017–2018)
On August 22, 2017, Thomas was traded, along with Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving. However, during the post-trade physical examination by Cleveland staff, concerns were raised about the health of Thomas' previously injured hip. As a result, eight days after the deal was announced, the Celtics agreed to send the Cavaliers a 2020 second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat to complete the trade. It was later reported that Thomas had been playing with a number of secondary issues in his hip, such as a loss of cartilage and some arthritis, for several seasons. On September 25, 2017, the Cavaliers deemed him a possibility of playing by the end of the year. On December 21, 2017, Thomas scrimmaged with the Canton Charge of the NBA G League and dressed for the first time since joining the Cavaliers, suiting up but not playing against the Chicago Bulls. On January 2, 2018, Thomas made his long-awaited debut for the Cavaliers, scoring 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench in a 127–110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. A day later, Thomas returned to TD Garden. Although he did not play in the Cavaliers' 102–88 loss to the Celtics, Thomas received a standing ovation from the Celtics' fans. On January 6, he had 19 points and four assists in his second appearance and first start of the season in a 131–127 win over the Orlando Magic. On January 20, he scored a season-high 24 points in a 148–124 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles Lakers (2018)
On February 8, 2018, the Cavaliers traded Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. In his debut for the Lakers two days later, Thomas scored 22 points off the bench in a 130–123 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. On March 1, he scored a season-high 29 points in a 131–113 win over the Miami Heat. On March 29, he was ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to his right hip.
Denver Nuggets (2018–present)
On July 16, 2018, Thomas signed a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets. He made his debut for the Nuggets on February 13, 2019, scoring all eight of his points in the third quarter of Denver's 120–118 win over the Sacramento Kings. It was his first game since March 22, 2018, when he was with the Lakers.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Thomas and his wife have two sons together.
- He was measured at 5 ft 8.75 in without shoes and 5 ft 10.25 in with shoes at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine. "Draft Combine Anthro, 2011-12". NBA.com. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
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