Isiah Thomas Mini-Interview
Isiah Thomas spent his playing days as an outstanding point guard on the high school, college and NBA level. He was the quintessential leader who could direct a team and make things happen on the floor.
After his playing days, Thomas has shown those same take-charge abilities in coaching and administration.
When he assumed his position as President of the New York Knicks last December, Thomas wasted no time in making changes. He brought in Stephon Marbury, Nazr Mohammed, Tim Thomas, Jamal Crawford, Jerome Williams, Vin Baker and coach Lenny Wilkens. As a result the Knicks last Spring made the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Thomas was at Continental Airlines Arena on Saturday for the Texas vs. Seton Hall game. At halftime he graciously spent some time with InsideHoops.com discussing the game in general and giving his insight on a few specifics.
InsideHoops.com: How would you assess your first year in New York?
Isiah Thomas: “I think we are on schedule in terms of where we are.
At first I didn’t know how we would be successful. We decided to either try
trades or just go with older players. If you do that and let contracts expire you
can be in the lottery for about four or five years and expect your fans to be
patient. We decided to go the way of trading and getting younger players.”
InsideHoops.com: You have experienced the New York fans as a
player, coach and now management. How can you characterize them?
Isiah Thomas: “One word is passion. They are passionate about their
team. We win we’re great, lose and we’re the worst. But you can’t overreact
to the fans (reactions).
InsideHoops.com: What traits or abilities do you look for in a college
player hoping to play in the NBA?
Isiah Thomas: The ability to play 94 feet on all areas of the court. The
ability to play inside and outside and make good decisions. I want to see if
the player communicates with his teammates and how he responds to
coaching. Another thing to remember is players’ bodies can develop better
than their skills.
InsideHoops.com: What is the greater challenge in the NBA, coaching or management?
Isiah Thomas: Playing is definitely harder than those two.
InsideHoops.com: What differences have you seem in the NBA from the days you played as contrasted to today?
Isiah Thomas: The biggest difference is in the leadership. It was better for us. We had more coaches and mentors to help us. A lot of the younger players today suffer from a lack of direction.