At times, Isaiah Thomas looked like his old All-Star self as he scored 22 points and dished out six assists in his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.
But there are also moments when he looked like the struggling player that he was when he still played for the Cleveland Cavaliers when he turned the ball over six times. He was also a liability on defense as it seemed like the Lakers were playing four against five when he was on the floor.
In other words, there’s no surprises here.
“I wanted to bring something to the table,” Thomas told reporters afterwards. “I felt like I got my powers back playing on this team.”
The Lakers snapped its four-game winning streak after allowing the Mavericks, which ranked 25th in the league in offensive rating, to shot the lights out and score 130 points.
To be fair, the six turnovers can be chalked up to unfamiliarity with his new teammates. Thomas was having his way on offense as he finished 7-12 from the field—including 4-8 from rainbow country–despite being ignorant of the Lakers playbook. Most of his offense, however, came in the first half as he scored 16 points.
In the second half, he ran out of gas as he made only two shots in four attempts.
Lakers coach Luke Walton said that Thomas can become the team’s wildcard because he brings another dimension to their offense. “When he is able to control pick-and-rolls and get people shots, obviously we couldn’t run a ton of stuff because he has been with us for one day, but he was good,” he said.
Thomas said that he’s willing to do whatever the coach asks from him. He said that while he prefers to be a starter because he’s earned it with his play and experience. At the same time, being traded to the Lakers felt like a fresh start for him. “I am here to help this team, help these young guys, continue to be professional …” he said.