By Derek Holmes Jr
During the 80’s and early 90’s, Isiah Thomas had a reputation for being one of the NBA’s fiercest rivals on the court. Thomas, listed at 6-foot-1, was arguably the toughest player on the Detroit Pistons during their “Bad Boys” era. Thomas’ toughness willed the Pistons to multiple NBA Finals berths in the 80’s and early 90’s. In today’s game, Los Angeles Clippers Guard Chris Paul mirrors Isiah Thomas better than anyone. In this Hoop Culture Online feature, we compare Paul and Thomas while also taking a look at what makes them unique to the NBA.
Both listed around 6-feet, Paul and Thomas are considered icons of the “little men” of the NBA. Like Thomas, Paul has proven to be practically impossible to guard at the point guard position. Both players mastered the ability to use their size to slip through small gaps and make life a living nightmare for opposing defenses. On the defensive end, Paul and Thomas also used their size to get under their opponents skin, literally, for steal after steal.
Chris Paul and Isiah Thomas have each won their share of accolades. It’s the stats on the court that don’t get recorded that make basketball fans around the world fall in love with the point guard legends. In the 80’s, it was Isiah Thomas playing on one foot in the NBA Finals against the Lakers that has become a basketball story passed down from one generation to the next. In 2010, Chris Paul willed the New Orleans Hornets to the NBA Playoffs after overcoming a meniscus tear in the middle of the season. Although at times their antics may have been viewed as over the top, both Paul and Thomas have displayed heart that is tough to rival amongst their NBA peers.
Throughout his legendary career, Isiah Thomas averaged 19 points, 2 steals, and over 9 assists per game. In his ninth year in the league, Chris Paul is averaging 18.6 points, 2.4 steals, and 9.9 assists per game. Although Isiah Thomas has two NBA Championship rings, if Paul continues on his current path, he will be well on his way.
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