Thursday, June 23, 2011
Kings select Isaiah Thomas with 60th pick in NBA draft
The Sacramento Kings selected Washington Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas with the last pick of the draft which was 60th overall. For Thomas he has to be regretting his decision to turn pro as he fell so far in the 2011 NBA draft. Thomas regardless of what happens in the NBA had a great career for the Huskies but the draft is often about potential. Now Thomas will try to play for the team who drafted Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes both players who played for Lorenzo Romar. By going in the second round Thomas is only guaranteed a one year contract but at least by getting drafted he is at least guaranteed one pay day. Now Thomas will try and take his quickness to the Kings and be the new J.J. Barea as Barea proved this past year a smaller quick point guard can be successful in this league. Thomas will be going to California's state capitol and will still be wearing the purple. Now for Thomas he had one of the most successful careers in the Romar era.
When Thomas came to the Huskies they had missed the tournament two straight seasons. During his freshman year he won the Pac-10's freshman of the year and was named honorable mention all pac-10 scoring 15.5 points a game and dishing out 2.6 assists per game while shooting 41.8% from the field, 29.1% from three pointers and 68.6% from free throws. Thomas helped the Huskies win their first outright Pac-10 regular season championship since 1953. In the Pac-10 tournament that year Thomas averaged 15.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 1.0 steals a game. In the NCAA tournament after a slow first game where he scored just nine points but dished out five assists in the season ending loss to Purdue Thomas scored 24 points with three assists. For the NCAA tournament Thomas averaged 16.5 PPG while dishing out 4.0 assists a game.
Then as a sophomore he averaged 16.9 points and 3.2 assists per game. He shot 41.5% from the field, 32.7% from three pointers and 73.2% from free throws. Thomas was named first team all pac-10 as a sophomore and then was named Pac-10 tournament MVP. In the Pac-10 tournament Thomas averaged 16.0 PPG while drilling six three's in three games and shooting 93% from the free throw line. Thomas in the championship game against California score 16 points while playing good defense on Jerome Randle while stealing two passes. In the NCAA tournament Thomas played some of his best ball of his career. Sure he has bigger scoring games but in the tournament Thomas finally found the balance of scoring and setting up his teamates. In the 80-78 first round win over Marquette Thomas was 7-13 shooting including 3-5 from three pointers for 19 poitns with eight assists. Oh and another thing Thomas didn't once sit out that game playing all 40 minutes. In the blowout win over New Mexico Thomas added 15 points and seven assists. Finally when the Huskies were eliminated Thomas scored 13 poitns with four assists but did shoot a respectable 6-13. Thomas for the tournament averaged 15.7 PPG, dished out 5.3 APG.
As a junior is when Thomas changed his game due to injuries at the point guard position and distractions off the court. Thomas had to run the point as he once again named first team all pac-10 averaging 16.8 points per game and 6.1 assists a game. He shot 44.5% from the field, 34.9% from three pointers and 71.9% from free throws. Once again he was named Pac-10 tournament MVP hitting the game winning shot against the Arizona Wildcats in the championship game. For the tournament Thomas averaged 19.7 points per game, 10.0 APG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.7 steals a game. Thomas shot 20-40(50.0%) from the field including 8-16(50.0%) from three point range. Thomas also played all but two possessions in three days. Thomas averaged 41.0 minutes a game considering college basketball is only 40 minutes long that is incredible. In the NCAA tournament he averaged 15.5 points per game and 7.5 assists per game as the Huskies were bounced in the second round. Thomas had he came back would have been the all-time scoring leader and assist man in Huskies history.
For the Huskies in the Romar era the draft has been kind to them. This is the sixth year in the last seven drafts Romar has seen one of his players drafted. In the 2005 draft Nate Robinson was a first round pick, in 2006 Brandon Roy who to date has been the best Husky in the NBA was a lotto pick while Bobby Jones was a second rounder that same draft. In 2007 Spencer Hawes was a lottery pick then in 2009 Jon Brockman like Hawes ended up with the Kings in the second round. Last year Quincy Pondexter was picked in the first round and now Thomas was picked in the second round. Judging by the talent on the roster in Terrence Ross, C.J. Wilcox, Abdul Gaddy and of course Tony Wroten the Huskies will have more guys in the draft. This is good for recruiting that Romar can tell kids that if you play for him you'll get a good education at Washington and play in the NBA. Hopefully Thomas like those guys can make a stamp in the NBA. If Thomas does what he did at Washington especially this last year he should make an NBA roster.
The Kings are a team in bit of turmoil like the Sonics the NBA is trying to steal that team from the great fans of Sacramento. Despite the Kings being loyal fans the NBA showed in Seattle they don't care about the fans and will hold the city hostage. Thomas is going to a team who already has Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings also drafted college player of the year Jimmer Fredette from BYU who is a shoot first point guard. I think Thomas can crack this roster as the Kings aren't very good winning just 24 games last year. Thomas took a chance by leaving early and he has no time to feel sorry for himself. He needs to move forward and make the best of this situation. The Kings who gave Hawes and Brockman a chance will hope Thomas helps them out as well. Thomas at least remains on the west coast so his family and friends can still watch him play.
In conclusion, this day was bittersweet for Huskies fans. I'm happy Thomas was drafted but sad he had to wait so long. Regardless of his career I'll never forget that he gave it his all for the Huskies. Just like Brockman as a Husky hard to argue too many players that were better than him. Thomas was two-time first team all pac-10 and two-time Pac-10 tournament MVP while leading the Huskies to three NCAA tournament appearances. Thomas is tied with Mike Jensen for most career NCAA tournament starts with seven. Had Thomas came back he could have been a legend and he obviously received bad advice. Hopefully the fans are supportive of him and not "I told you so" towards Thomas. Thomas is chasing his lifelong dream and at least he has the guts to chase his dream. While most of us including myself never put ourselves in a risky position to flat chase our dreams Thomas did. I hope the best for Thomas as I know he'll be capable enough to play in the NBA. Husky nation will be rooting on Thomas and I'll never forget all the great moments he gave me as a fan.