The Blazers Should Draft Isaiah Thomas

One thing that really stood out last night (and throughout the series) was the Blazers lack of a speedy ball handler and on-ball-defender. Jason Terry and J.J. Barea drove into the lane at will, setting up easy shots for themselves or dishing to open guys near the basket. The Blazers most comparable player is Patty Mills, but Mills lacks the creativity and court vision to serve as a playmaker and doesn't have very good defensive instincts (though Terry and Barea aren't great defenders either). Mills can generate some shots for himself, but isn't very good at converting drives to the hoop into assists or creating ball pressure or generating steals.

But there is someone in this draft the Blazers can get who can fill that role: Washington's Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is short, but he's lightning quick and is an excellent scorer and facilitator in the paint. He's also a very good, very underrated defender. I think NBA GMs consistently overvalue height at the PG position. In the post-hand check era -- and with the NBA's bigger 3 point radius and rules against camping in the paint defensively -- tiny lightning bug point guards are a major weapon. They have much more space to work with and they reak havoc on defenses, as we saw this series. The Blazers need a guy like that, a guy who can come off the bench and repeatedly get around defenders into the key to get create easy buckets for himself and his teammates. Thomas is that kind of a player. He's mature and experienced (22 years old), extremely confident, and already a better scorer, passer, and defender than Patty Mills.

Best of all, I suspect Thomas can be acquired with a mid to late second round pick, so it's hard to see what the Blazers have to lose by taking a gamble on a guy like that. He's not THE missing piece, but I think he would fill a niche that is really lacking right now.