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2014 Free Agency, Smack / Jul 24, 2014 / 1:15 pm

Isaiah Thomas Felt “Disrespected” By Kings

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas (Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports)

Maybe because 5-9 point guard Isaiah Thomas was the last pick (N0. 60) in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Kings just couldn’t see past his height and a lack of hype after coming out of the University of Washington. Like fellow Pacific Northwest guard, Nate Robinson, Thomas kept surprising prognosticators who didn’t think he had the size to survive at the pro level. Now, after a three-year, $27 million sign-and-trade sent him to Phoenix, Thomas comes clean and says he “felt very disrespected” by the Sacramento franchise who never gave him the chance many — including us — felt he earned with his play.

Zeke was an unrestricted free agent this summer, and we knew the Kings weren’t serious about matching a serious offer like the four-year $27 million offer sheet Phoenix extended him — the Celtics also expressed interest — when they signed Darren Collison to a three-year $15 million deal earlier in the summer.

The 25-year-old signed the offer sheet and the Kings eventually settled on the sign-and-trade that will make Thomas a Sun heading into the 2014-15 season. Thomas finally came clean about his tenure in Sacramento when speaking with the Arizona Republic‘s Bob Young:

Yet, the Kings seemed to look for someone to replace Thomas at every opportunity.

“They were,” he said matter-of-factly. “I felt very disrespected. Every year it was somebody new. I felt I did a good enough job to show them I was a starting point guard or a guy who could play a big role with their team. But they thought differently.

“They’re going to go forward without me, and I’m going to go forward with the Phoenix Suns, and I know something special is coming here.”

We’ve discussed this in the past when speaking with Thomas, who was always very cordial about the people in Sac-town despite their unwillingness to really turn the reins over to him as a long-term fixture at the point.

Thomas has progressed as a player in each of his three seasons in Sacramento, culminating in a 2013-14 campaign that saw him average a career high 20.3 points and 6.2 assists in 34.7 minutes while starting 54 games.

In his previous two campaigns he had to beat out, the much-hyped Jimmer Fredette, 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, Greivis Vasquez, Aaron Brooks, Toney Douglas and last season’s rookie, Ray McCallum.

Zeke’s shooting splits last season, .453/.349/.850 and his player efficiency rating (20.5) all come in above the average starting point guard. Just look at this list of guards and forwards with the minimum minutes per game last season with a PER over 15.

You might think the 5-9 Thomas struggled on the defensive end, but he recorded 1.3 defensive win shares over the year, up from a negative rating in 2012-13 and a 0.0 in his rookie year. That’s right in line with some of the best guards in the NBA.

We could go hoarse arguing the merits of Isaiah Thomas as a starting point guard for a winning team in the NBA, but the Phoenix Suns took a $27 million flyer on him, so at least some teams understand what he can do when given the opportunity. Then again, with Goran Dragic, RFA Eric Bledsoe, rookie Tyler Ennis, combo guard Archie Goodwin and now Zeke, the Suns have plenty of guards to run coach Jeff Hornacek‘s blitzing offense. Don’t be surprised if — out of all those names — Thomas is the creme that rises to the surface yet again in 2014-15.

(Thanks to Eye on Basketball for bringing this to our attention)

Is Isaiah Thomas a starting point guard in the NBA?

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  • 2cents

    I see Thomas is a special player in your books, as you tend to write very complimentary pieces about him. I hope he backs up your words in this coming season.

    The only problem I have with Thomas signing with the Suns, is that they already have enough PGs to fill the Titanic. Why wouldn’t Thomas take his skills to a team where he doesn’t have to compete (again) for a starting spot?

  • breakerbreaker19

    The suns run a two point guard system

  • Stretch

    Hard to take the comments seriously from a guy who can’t even get IT’s free agent status correct. He was RFA. Also, don’t try to sell some bs stat to prove he was a top defensive PG. He’s horrible on defense.

  • Chris Casey

    Disrespect is IT saying he wouldn’t mind getting an offer from the Lakers, thats disrespect.

  • DatDude

    When you have Rudy Gay and Demarcus Cousins, you can’t dribble the ball all day long either. Always calling for multiple picks and eating up the shot clock. I’m not saying he isn’t a good player, he just didn’t fit into the Mike Malone offense.

  • 2cents

    Yeah, I got that. And I figured that is why The Dragon and Bledesoe can play together, but if IT signs with them, does he start or come off the bench?

  • Barbara Katen

    Our loss is your gain. Isaiah, please don’t feel disrespected by the Sacramento fans. We all loved and still love you. This year I’ll not only be rooting for the Kings but I’ll be rooting for the Suns.

  • Ray Ray

    oh there was a Mike Malone Offense. ISO for Cousins must have been it then.

  • Tiffany

    IT is my boy but he needs to share the ball. It’s not a one man game.

  • nerissapartington

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the>>CLICK NEXT TAB FOR MORE INFO AND HELP

  • Todd Dobbins

    As a kings fan this was a disgraceful move by kings management. They didn’t even get any value for him. Darren Collison is the answer in their minds lol, that has to tell you something. Even if they didn’t view him as a starter he would have been a great sixth man. Were talking about a team that still views Ben Mclemore as a future star lol.

  • breakerbreaker19

    Bledsoe might end up a 6th man

  • breakerbreaker19

    Wait no, Thomas comes off the bench

  • 2cents

    Yeah, that is what I figured, but isn’t that the same problem he felt disrespected for in the Kings organisation? Won’t he become a disruptive force?

  • Kasden Beal

    there’s no way he’ll “rise to the top” above dragic

  • breakerbreaker19

    He’s just mad that they didn’t offer him the money he wanted just to stay. Bledsoe is nice, great defender, mean euro step

  • DatDude

    Even if, I’ll take those odds any day over jump shots.