The Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, one of the NBA’s most charismatic and talented young guards, joins Adrian Wojnarowski in studio on the Vertical Podcast. In a candid, wide-ranging interview Thomas delves into the drive it took to reach the NBA as a 5-foot-9 player, the revelatory conversation he had with his idol Kobe Bryant this season, his early days with the dysfunctional Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins, why the Goran Dragic-Eric Bledsoe-Thomas partnership didn’t last a full season in Phoenix and what the elder Isiah Thomas told his young namesake upon the Suns trading of Isaiah to the Boston Celtics. In the Insider Segment, DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony of The Vertical, operator of the preeminent player evaluation website, joins Woj to discuss everything from potential No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons of LSU, to the painstaking process of evaluating and projecting young players to their professional futures.
In this Episode you will hear:
From Isaiah Thomas:
1:19 - Coming to NYC on train to visit Jamal Crawford as home sick kid at New England Prep school, roots as a young Seattle player.
3:39 - On trade to Celtics and what Isaiah Thomas told him would happen to his career in Boston.
4:48 – Danny Ainge’s impact on his arrival with Celtics.
6:37 - Playing for Celtics coach Brad Stevens
9:09 – Isaiah’s heart-to-heart talk with Kobe Bryant on his idol’s last visit to Boston.
13:49 – Impact playing against Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson as young kid in Seattle.
16:08 – What the Seattle SuperSonics and its stars meant to the region’s burgeoning players.
17:53 – On the weekend train rides to Oregon to play with Kevin Love and staying at his family’s home.
19:15 – Why he left Washington for the NBA as a junior.
21:14 – How he went from the last pick of the NBA draft to beating out lottery pick Jimmer Fredette with Kings.
23:38 – The dynamic of DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento.
26:40 – Thomas’ arrival in Phoenix, and why the three-guard lineup caused implosion of Suns.
28:12 – The 2015 trade deadline in Phoenix.
34:42 – Thomas’ goal: Becoming the best little man in NBA history.
36:25 - Jason Terry's impact on his life/career
39:05 - Mike Conley is the NBA’s most under-appreciated point guard.
39:50 – Why Isaiah spend the summer working on Steve Nash’s floater.
42:23 – Uniqueness of playing for Celtics organization.
From Jonathan Givony:
44:49 – The harsh realities attending the D-League Showcase this week.
48:39 - Broad-base of factors determining which talent makes it in the NBA – and who falls by wayside.
48:52 – Beginnings of scouting LSU star Ben Simmons as a 15 year old in global tournament.
52:44 - Are smaller players, such as Isaiah Thomas and Oakland University’s Kay Felder, tougher to evaluate?
53:53 – Self-questioning what constitutes an NBA player in scouting process.
56:44 – The earliest stages Jonathan begins to build scouting file on players.