Isaiah Thomas is ready for a big year with the Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards Isaiah Thomas (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Isaiah Thomas (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

You might not be excited about the upcoming season for the Washington Wizards but there’s one former all-star that is.

Most projections for the upcoming Washington Wizards season are bleak. Win-loss projections from experts and sportsbooks around the country have the Wizards hovering around 30 wins this season. That means they’d have to lose at least 50 games.

So if that’s your outlook, there probably isn’t a lot to get excited about as we get closer to opening night. Or is there?

According to newly-signed Isaiah Thomas, this is going to be a fun season in Washington. At least that’s what he told us all, totally unprompted, on Twitter.

The keyword from that tweet: opportunity. It’s something Thomas hasn’t had a lot of since undergoing hip surgery in May of 2017. The season prior to the surgery, Thomas led the Boston Celtics to a surprisingly good 53-29 record, while averaging a career-high 28.9 points per game.

After seasons of being overlooked and undervalued, Thomas had seemingly found his home in Boston once Brad Stevens gave him an opportunity. But that wasn’t the case, and in the summer of 2017, Thomas was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Later that season he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Then the Denver Nuggets signed him in the summer of 2018.

Thomas has been on plenty of teams since the Celtics, but he’s never had a great opportunity since leaving Boston. Over the past two seasons, Thomas has played in just 44 of a possible 164 regular-season games, coming off the bench in all but 15 of those games. With the Wizards, Thomas will have the chance to start and play significant minutes in all 82 games this season.

As the Wizards prepare for a season without Wall, they’ve smartly acquired some point guards besides Thomas. Ish Smith, Justin Robinson, and Isaac Bonga will all compete for minutes, but shouldn’t threaten Thomas’s starting job.

Although Smith has been a more regular contributor than Thomas recently, he’s been a career backup through his nine years in the NBA. There’s no reason to think that would change now. And while Robinson showed some promise in Summer League, he’s still a rookie with a long way to go. He shouldn’t be starting yet. Nor should Bonga.

But will Thomas have any problems fitting in next to Bradley Beal in the backcourt? He certainly doesn’t think so.

The two things that could keep Thomas on the sidelines this season are health (obviously) and defense. Listed at 5’9″, Thomas’ size alone makes him somewhat of a defensive liability out there. Through eight NBA seasons, Thomas has had a Defensive Rating (DRtg) under 110 just twice. For one of those two sub-110 seasons, his DRtg was 109 (2014-15). Despite the lackluster defense, Thomas has usually been able to justify his presence on the court with an even more impressive Offensive Rating (ORtg). Through his first six seasons, Thomas’ ORtg was as good or better than his DRtg. That’s been far from true these last two seasons, though.

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Thomas may look good on Twitter in videos from open gyms and pickup games this summer, but we’ll have to wait until October to see what he can really bring to the Wizards. If you ask Thomas, though, there’s no question as to what we’ll see from him on the court. Fireworks.