Reason #2: Isaiah Thomas is what the Lakers need now
The Lakers do not have a reliable third guard on the roster. Staggering LeBron James and Russell Westbrook’s minutes can only get their offense so far. The Lakers have done this – and are still 24th in offensive rating!
Malik Monk, Austin Reeves, and Talen Horton-Tucker are very promising young players. Their promise has not translated to consistent production so far. The Lakers do not have the time to wait on those young players to become reliable scoring options.
Veterans like Isaiah Thomas are a known commodity. Thomas is a great fit to play alongside LeBron and Carmelo Anthony on offense as a third scoring option coming off the bench. The Lakers only need him to play 15-20 minutes in this role (which was reserved for Kendrick Nunn, who has yet to play a single game this season).
This offensive possession is how the Lakers can ideally use Thomas in a half-court setting. The movement was much better because he never stopped moving.
The Lakers need guys on offense who are willing to move without the ball. Here was the chain reaction that Thomas’ off-ball movement created:
- Rajon Rondo brings the ball up on the left side of the court
- Carmelo Anthony gets the ball on the left block
- Isaiah Thomas curls off a staggered screen from LeBron and AD
- Thomas cuts to the basket then relocates to the perimeter
- Anthony is doubled and passes back to Rondo
- Rondo passes back to Thomas for his first Lakers points this season
I am aware of the poor history between Thomas and LeBron on the court. Thomas only lasted a half of a season playing alongside LeBron in Cleveland. He looked miserable and was quickly traded to a young Lakers squad going nowhere fast.
When LeBron left Cleveland for the Lakers the following offseason, Thomas bounced around the NBA world. His second stint with the Lakers marks his fourth NBA team in four seasons.
Thomas is a different player now. He will do whatever it takes to stay in the NBA. He can thrive as a third scoring option coming off the bench. He fits particularly well with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in a veteran-laden lineup.