Sacramento Kings’ guard Isaiah Thomas talked with Jason about how his rookie season has gone. Since the team is on the road, Jason asked Isaiah about cities he has enjoyed in his first NBA season. Isaiah said that he enjoyed Portland because it is close to his home, and he liked Dallas because he had been there before. His game plan on the road is to chill and collect hats. Isaiah said he likes to wear hats, so every time the team is in a new city, he tries to find a hat he thinks is unique to the area. He also talked about getting recognized out in public on the road, and how people recognize him more now that he’s having more success.
Next, Isaiah talked about his rookie year. He said that he believes he can do a lot individually to improve. He said he focused this season on playing as hard as he can and making winning plays. Next year, he wants to improve on everything and be an overall better player next year. He said that nothing really caught him by surprise, but guys that were tough to guard were Steve Nash and Chris Paul because of their ability to keep their dribble and work out of the pick and roll. Nash isn’t fast, but plays the game so well and dictates the pace however he wants. Paul is fast in either direction and changes direction so quick. Another guy he said is difficult to guard is John Wall, who Isaiah called “un-guardable” in the open floor. Even when it comes to guarding big men, Isaiah said he likes to guard them in the post, and using his size to his advantage when teams try to get mismatches on him. He said he takes a lot of pride in pushing big men out of the paint and showing teams that he isn’t easy to mismatch despite his size.
Finally Jason and Isaiah discussed Keith Smart and Isaiah’s role as a team leader on the Kings. He said that Coach Smart has trusted him this season, and that he wouldn’t be in the position he was in without Smart. There are games where Smart doesn’t say much to Isaiah, and Isaiah said he prefers it that way. However, Smart not saying much doesn’t mean that Isaiah doesn’t appreciate the coaching when he gets it. Isaiah said that it didn’t take long for him to become a leader on the team. Because he was so vocal in practice and worked hard, guys respected him and he fell into the roll as a leader. Isaiah believes that his hard work and success this season should land him on the NBA All-Rookie Team. He said that whether he makes it or not, he’ll work hard to be better next year.