Dime Q&A: Isaiah Thomas Thinks Seattle Could Take Any City

By: 09.16.11
Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas (photo. University of Washington)

Dime: As a smaller guard, what are your strengths and what do you think you have to have at this level?
IT: As a smaller guard, my strengths are quickness and making plays like getting into that paint and either scoring for myself or getting other guys an opportunity to score. And I think being a small guard in the NBA, you just gotta have the heart and the firepower to never back down from nobody because they’re gonna try to post you. They are gonna try to exploit the mismatch but I feel like you gotta guard me to on the other end so I got a mismatch the same way you think you’ve got a mismatch.

Dime: What’s the biggest different between the hardwood and the street stuff?
IT: There’s no foul calls in the streets man (laughs). You gotta be strong with it. But it kinda actually gets you better though so then when you get on the court, you don’t really call no fouls or you don’t mind if somebody hits you a little harder.

So that’s why those East Coast guys or those New York guys are a little tougher than the normal basketball player because they grew up on the streets. They grew up playing on the asphalt and the courts outside.

Dime: What’s your favorite part about playing outside?
IT: Just the atmosphere. The crowd getting into it.

Dime: Is there a different feeling on that court?
IT: A little bit. I can’t explain it, but it’s a little different. Outside is just more… I can’t really explain it. You gotta be able to play in it to really understand it.

Dime: Obviously you have your Seattle guys that you learn from. But other than that, do you have tapes of specific guys that you study?
IT: My role model that I pattern my game after is Damon Stoudamire. So I got a lot of film on him and I actually know him. We got a good relationship, and he tells me little things that he went through in the league. He tells me things to help out my game so that’s a big guy that I really model my game after. We’re both smaller. We’re both left-handed and he had a great career. He had a great 10-12 year career in the NBA. Guys like Nate Robinson who’s from Seattle. A lot of short guys. Damon Stoudamire is the big one.

Dime: People always talk about it’s different to guard a lefty. Do people play you differently or do you notice little things they do differently?
IT: I mean I always hear that it’s hard to guard a left-hander, but I don’t really see them playing any different. It is hard because I was actually guarding him today (points at Seth Allen) and it was a little weird because he’s left handed and I’m not used to guarding left handers. It is a little weird but at the same time you just gotta hoop.

Dime: What’s your favorite drill?
IT: Now I do a lot of shooting. Jason got me going through a lot of shooting drills. Look, he’s got those kids going through it right now. That’s mainly the stuff we do, getting up a lot of shots and making a lot of shots.

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