Mile High Isaiah
Compared to year’s past, it feels like Isaiah Thomas is forgotten. Far away from the media glare, Thomas is a member of the Denver Nuggets, a team of young guards who like to pass the ball, shoot threes and flex. When they need elite talent to do things, the Nuggets count on Nikola Jokic. When they need a leader, Paul Millsap is a follow what I do, not what I say kind of dude. And then there is Isaiah.
Fate hasn’t been kind recently. On track for a huge payday, a hip injury and a trade to Cleveland changed Isaiah’s career. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, Isaiah in the Mile High City on a one year deal, trying to prove he can still make an impact with his scoring. Last season was abysmal. If it wasn’t the pain that followed him everywhere, it was the shot that was broken. A LeBron James sidekick, Isaiah went nowhere fast and even though he recovered his reputation somewhat in Los Angeles, it was a two steps forward, three steps back season that has Isaiah wanting a blank slate redo.
But here’s the real of the real. He’s 29 years old. When he’s right he can drain jumpers and fight off the pressure. When he’s not, he’s no better than a run of the mill off the bench point guard who is hit or miss. The problem for the Nuggets is the million dollar question: which Isaiah is going to show up?
2018-19 projections for Thomas have nothing to do with his will which is off the charts but rather his body. Can he count on it as he is plowing through screens and diving into chests at the rim, not to mention the cheap shots all guards have to absorb.
Can the Nuggets trust what has already been battered and bruised?
Isaiah loves to talk and he is all passion all the time. Despite backing up Jamal Murray, he expects to take the last shot, to lead the team in a way that had been missing, and doing it the Isaiah way. Loud, boisterous and full of swag.
In other words, Isaiah won’t shut up. You can’t make him. (Mallory Stith-Wheat)
More Burner Issues in Philly
Mike Muscala is new kid on the block in Philly and already he has had to apologize to the NBA stratosphere because his father has been busy on social media with a burner account saying racist stuff. Shout out to Elton Brand, the new GM for Philly, who didn’t waste any time issuing his own apology considering Philly’s recent history with burner accounts and cracking on players.
Mike Muscala’s father is Bob. Bob got himself all emotional talking about the Jimmy Butler situation and he made a racialized comment regarding Butler’s mental health that was immediately taken down. But Elton Brand wanted everyone to know as Philly’s GM he is not going to just sit and wait and let the story write itself. He’s going to take a stand and good for him.
The bigger question is WTF Philly? Why does this keep happening to you.
First Bryan Colangelo’s wife and now a scrub bench player with an out of control father. Muscala, the son, was clear to make it known that he didn’t share his father’s views, meaning his racial views. Well, good. The locker room needed to hear that. But the problem isn’t that Mike Muscala is a different kind of cat than his father. The problem is his father has those views in the first place. (Julian Billick)
Lance Being Lance Is Why I Love This Game
Is there a more beautiful thing this season than Lance Stephenson under the bright lights and media crush of Los Angeles and Lance being asked to not get suspended?
In a meaningless preseason game in which LeBron, Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo did not play, Lance decided it was good idea to take a swing at Quinn Cook. It was a game that was a blowout, boring, and everyone wanted to exit stage left and not get hurt. Luckily for Lance and the Lakers, he didn’t make contact with Quinn Cook but still. What are you doing Lance?
Being Lance of course.
All things considered, Lance Stephenson has had a pretty good preseason, enough to make you rethink his role on the Lakers second unit, playing with Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. He’s taken and made Lance shots and has been appropriately aggressive with his defense, creating havoc. But watching Lance is like watching a kid on a sugar high; you know he’s going to crash and there will be blood.
What the Lakers are betting on is that LeBron James leadership can find multiple ways to keep Lance in line. Lance tends to go south at the worst moments and no one can predict when Lance is going to be good Lance or when Lance is going to morph into brain freeze Lance.
Half the fun is watching Lance try to discipline himself, fail and then just go bonkers. (C.J. Hampshire)