Kings fans love Isaiah Thomas and with good reason. We can all relate to the undersized guy picked dead last (60th) in the draft who has sliced his way to an impressive NBA season — 20.2 points and 6.3 assists a night, with a true shooting percentage of 56.8. He’s great at taking angles off the pick-and-roll, finishes very well inside despite being 5’9”, and he is shooting 36.7 percent from three.
So the Kings are trying to sell high.
One of the more aggressive deadline teams this year, the Kings are making Thomas available in trades, reports Marc Stein of ESPN — but don’t
Thomas is a restricted free agent this summer and the rebuilding Kings wisely fear out in the marketplace Thomas will get more than they feel is worth. So, they are trying to get something now.
That included making a run at Rajon Rondo (something that didn’t go through).
Thomas is never going to be a plus defender because of his size; he’s a liability there. However, he is a guy who when put in a system that plays to his strengths (pick-and-roll) can put up good numbers. Credit coach Mike Malone for doing just that.
On a better team Thomas makes a great sixth man (sort of like how Houston uses Jeremy Lin). But with a few teams out there starved for point guards the Kings are clearly looking to see if someone really values Thomas and will give up something of quality to get him.
The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.
Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.
On offensive problems:
I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball
On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:
He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.
On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:
We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.
Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.
But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.
Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.
Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.
He’d appreciate them getting this message.
Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.
So, um, did he have offseason surgery?
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.
We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?