Suns fans were stunned when they learned of their team’s only big free-agent signing this year. Another point guard? Really?
Yes, Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 20 points per game last season with the Sacramento Kings, is the Suns’ latest dual-threat player in the backcourt and has signed a four-year, $27 million contract with the team.
The Suns were already the only team in the NBA starting a pair of point guards in the backcourt with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Now with Thomas, a former star at the University of Washington, they have a trio.
If there was any doubt before, there isn’t any longer. The Suns are the game’s most nontraditional team. Thomas most likely will be used as the first player off the bench. The Entertainer! hustled to have a chat with the man himself.
The Entertainer!: You scored 20 points a game last season. You were one of the top free agents on the market, yet you decided to come to the team that was the most point-guard-dominated of all. What was your thinking?
Thomas: First of all, I want to win. I see this organization going in that direction. Secondly, their style of play fits me perfectly whether I start or come off the bench. They want to score a lot of points. I like to do that as well. They want to get up and down the court and score as fast as possible. That’s only going to help me. They think I’m going to be a big part of what they’re going to do in the future. As long as I’m out on the floor, I’m going to make an impact. I’m going to take full advantage of my opportunity. I want to start, but whatever is best for this team, I’m going to do.
They couldn’t possibly be crazy enough to use all three of you at the same time, could they?
It’s not crazy. We’re (among) the best guards in the NBA. If we do, that’s going to cause problems for opposing teams.
Is your role to bring a spark when things aren’t going well?
It can be. Whatever role they want, that’s what I’m going to do. We just can’t come into a game and think we’re going to win. We have to bring it at all times. We’re not going to sneak up on anybody this year.
You were the last player picked in the 2011 draft. Some would say that makes you Mr. Irrelevant, just like the final player in the NFL draft. Were you proud to be drafted or disappointed to go last?
Both. I was proud. Not everybody gets drafted. It’s an honor in itself. At the same time, I was expecting to go higher because I outworked and outplayed a lot of guys who got drafted in front of me. All I did was use it as extra motivation. I continued to work hard. And I knew, if given an opportunity, I would take full advantage.
Any early impressions of the Valley?
Ever since I’ve been here, other than it being so hot, the city is nice. The people are nice. It’s a family oriented city. And there’s a lot to do. It’s different from Sacramento.
Why did the Kings let you go after you played so well?
I don’t know. Maybe because I’m 5’9”. I’m short. I don’t really know. At the end of the day, they decided to go separate ways. I’m fine with that. I’m here with the Phoenix Suns. I’m looking forward to it.
It’s said that you were named after Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas because your father started to make a bet with a Detroit Pistons’ fan over a championship series between the Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers. Is it true?
My dad was a Lakers fan. He said he would name his son Isiah (if the Pistons won).
And your dad decided he liked the name before the series was finished?
There are two sides to it. My mom liked the name. She grew up in church, so that’s why I spell it the biblical way.