IT has……..a hip injury.
What in the world is going on with hips? At least Isaiah Thomas‘ hip injury happened when he was with the Boston Celtics, we were starting to wonder if the absence of Steve Hess was hitting the Nuggets particularly hard this season.
Speaking of the Celtics, who recalls the 2015 playoff run that Thomas quarterbacked for the boys in green?
It was spectacular, Thomas was undeniable and unstoppable until his own body stopped him. He was also an MVP candidate.
In Denver, you have to go back to Carmelo Anthony iso-ball for the last instance of a Nuggets player that approached the 30 point-per-game threshold.
IT is a 30 ppg guy on a team that doesn’t even have a 20 ppg guy. Now, that’s by design, the Nuggets never rely on a single performance for their success. Jokic may be their best player but that’s because he has such an incredible feel for how he is needed game-over-game. Sometimes that is getting someone else involved.
Thomas is cut from the same cloth as Jokic when it comes to offensive philosophy. He can score pretty much at-will but his gift is in elevating his team. His personal stats are a byproduct of his ability and style rather than the main motivation to his game. It’s the thing people aren’t understanding when they talk about how Thomas will carve out minutes with the emergence of Monte Morris at the point.
It’s understandable, Morris is balling out, plain and simple but Thomas is special, has been special in a deep playoff run and can drop 30 whenever the mood strikes him. He’s arguably the most accomplished player on the Nuggets roster.
Of course, this is all contingent on his health. This has been a long recovery for a hip injury and it’s possible the injury has sapped IT of some of his pure physical ability. It’s possible the Nuggets could be in first place in the West with 3/5 of their starters sidelined, so anything can happen.
If he’s THAT Isaiah Thomas, the Nuggets are in the best possible position while Gary Harris convalesces. Morris and Murray can start in the backcourt and Thomas and Craig or Beasley can follow. We’ll worry about the three-headed beast at the point when we have to.
Those are the players we expect to contribute this year. We mentioned the next two in the opening but each deserves a little deeper look: