The Portland Trail Blazers final roster spot: 4 options that could take them over the top

Jamal Crawford, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jamal Crawford, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Isaiah Thomas, Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

2. Pick Analysis. G. Washington Wizards. Isaiah Thomas. player. 142. Scouting Report

If we’re discussing pure storylines, it gets no better than this. Just three summers ago, Isaiah Thomas ranked No. 5 in the 2016-17 MVP voting. And even though he’s since struggled to recapture that magic, circumstances haven’t always permitted.

Thomas’ last appearance with the Washington Wizards wasn’t quite a horror story. He returned to shooting at a somewhat-efficient clip, producing a 53.1 true shooting percentage, the highest since that 2016-17 season.

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At 5-foot-9 Thomas will have trouble finding favorable matchups. There’s hesitance to call him an absolute “defensive liability” the way the media did. They did the same thing with Allen Iverson, and he wasn’t a defensive liability in the slightest.

For Thomas, that’s the case against him for sure. Opponents shoot 21.6 percent better than expected against Thomas inside of six feet, giving Thomas one of the worst marks in the NBA. And overall, the numbers aren’t inspiring. But it’s worth remembering what worked in Boston: the Celtics had the players capable of “hiding” him on that end of the floor.

Portland doesn’t quite have that, but in certain lineups, they could toggle him alongside Zach Collins or Trevor Ariza as requisite helpers. And he certainly fulfills what the Portland Trail Blazers need at the backup point guard spot.

Similar to Crawford, Thomas could fit into helping Lillard and McCollum get those few minutes of rest that they needed. The only plausible option to this point has been Simons or Trent Jr., who for all the rightfully-deserved rave about their bucket-getting abilities, don’t quite cut it as creators.

Even if just for 12 to 15 minutes, it’s hard to imagine Isaiah Thomas not willing to contribute, if only to rewrite his legacy. He’s likely itching to pad his 22.6 points per game average in the Playoffs, and Portland could be an avenue towards doing that.