Denver Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas is yet to regain his All-Star form since returning from the injury that sidelined him in the first half of the 2018-19 NBA season. As expected from a player who missed so many games, Thomas still looks rusty and is still trying to make himself fit in the Nuggets’ system. In his first nine games as a Nugget, the 30-year-old point guard is only averaging 8.6 points on 37.3 percent shooting from the field and 27.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Isaiah Thomas obviously needs more time to bring back his former game and familiarize himself with the Nuggets’ offensive strategy. However, Thomas may not receive much playing time in the Nuggets’ upcoming games. According to The Denver Post, Nuggets Head Coach Mike Malone has recently decided to shorten his rotation to eight where Thomas is not included.
Coach Mike Malone started the change in his rotation in the Nuggets’ 131-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. Malone said that they are trying to find a rhythm before the real battle begins in the Western Conference Playoffs. Malone believes that the rotation he used against the Timberwolves will give them “the best chance to win now.”
Coach Mike Malone revealed that before their game against the Timberwolves, he talked to Isaiah Thomas about his decision. However, Malone decided not to give any specific details about their recent conversation. Malone explained that his decision is not about Thomas’ slow start, but he only did what he thinks is “best for our team.”
“It’s never about Isaiah. It’s never about any individual,” Malone explained. “It’s about what I think is best for our team. And I made the decision to shorten the rotation, only played eight guys in the first quarter. And I’m going to continue to do that for the time being.”
On IT, who just a week ago was talking about what he could do “if” his opportunity grew: https://t.co/HukqDIQzwR
— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) March 13, 2019
When he signed a veteran minimum deal with the Nuggets, Isaiah Thomas definitely knew that he will only be part of the Nuggets’ second unit. However, receiving a DNP treatment is something that Thomas didn’t expect, especially knowing that he’s only two years removed from being an MVP candidate. Coach Mike Malone is aware how hard it is for Thomas to be in his current situation, but he said that the veteran point guard is handling everything like a true professional basketball player.
“Isaiah is a pro,” Malone said. “He was into the game, he was supporting his teammates, he is a competitor. I know it’s not easy for him. But I admire his response and being such a pro (Tuesday).”