Isaiah Thomas is back in the NBA after signing a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. He joined the Lakers under the hardship exemption, which allows a team to exceed the 15-player maximum. LA is without several players because of injuries and the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Thomas played in his first NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves since April 12, 2021, when he was with the New Orleans Pelicans. Although the Lakers got blown out by the Timberwolves, Thomas played well and received a lot of love from the Minnesota crowd.
Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points in 22 minutes
Thomas came off the bench for the Lakers against the Timberwolves and played 21 minutes. The lefty scored 19 points while shooting 5-of-12 from the field, 2-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Thomas’ family and friends weren’t the only ones happy to see him back in the NBA. In fact, when the two-time All-Star checked into the Lakers-Timberwolves game for the first time, he received a standing ovation from the Minnesota crowd. It was a heartwarming moment for a guy who has been through a lot over the past few years.
After the game, Thomas spoke about how it felt to play in an NBA game again. He thanked the Timberwolves crowd for showing him love.
Isaiah Thomas: “Those moments mean more to me than anything”
The Lakers may have lost to the Timberwolves, but Thomas was still in a fairly good mood postgame. He’s thankful to be back in the NBA and appreciates the support from the Minnesota fans.
“The dopest moment for me? When I checked in the game and they really cheered for me,” Thomas said. “And this is an away game. Those moments mean more to me than anything, just because people respect what I do and people respect the grind that I’m on. And I think me being 5-9 helps. Like, I’m the normal person’s height, so people cheer for me just because of that.”
It’s rare you see an away player get a standing ovation from the home crowd. That was a classy gesture by the Timberwolves fans, who are well aware of the struggles Thomas has gone through. From losing his sister to undergoing hip surgery to being traded and cut multiple times, Thomas has dealt with a lot of adversity.
However, the former Boston Celtics superstar has never given up on his NBA dream, and now he has a chance to land a full-time deal with the Lakers.
Lakers should keep IT for the whole season
Thomas looked good against the Timberwolves. He gives the Lakers a lot of what they’ve been missing next to LeBron James: a point guard who can shoot from deep and create his own shot off the dribble.
Russell Westbrook is a triple-double machine, but he’s a woeful jump shooter.
The Lakers should keep Thomas on their roster for the entire season. They need all the perimeter shooting they can get, and Thomas will likely play every game full throttle since he knows what it’s like to be jobless and doesn’t want to be cut again.
It was great to see Thomas play against the Timberwolves and Minnesota fans deserve a lot of credit for giving him a standing ovation. Moving forward, don’t be surprised if other road arenas do the same for Thomas, one of the most beloved players in the league.