Best Point Guards in NBA History: Number 2
Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons (1981 – 1994)
Isiah Thomas will always be remembered for being the feisty leader of the infamous “Bad Boys” iteration of the Detroit Pistons. He was a wizard with the basketball in his hands who could dazzle with his dribble skills, make pinpoint passes, and score in a variety of ways.
Thomas led the Pistons to prominence in an era where the preeminent teams in the NBA were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. After losing a heartbreaking seven game series to the Celtics in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, Thomas and the Pistons were finally able to overcome their rivals in 1988. However, when they got to the NBA Finals, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers, led by Isiah’s best friend, Magic Johnson, were waiting on them.
In Game Six of the 1988 NBA Finals, Isiah Thomas put on one of the gutsiest displays in NBA history. On a badly swollen ankle, and clearly hobbled, Thomas scored 25 points in the third quarter alone. The Pistons would go on to lose the game, and subsequently lost Game Seven and the series as well. Although they came up short that season, no one will ever forget Isiah’s grit and determination.
In 1989 and 1990, the Bad Boys finally became the Kings of the Hill. They were able to sweep the Los Angeles Lakers in the ’89 Finals before defeating the Portland Trailblazers in five games the following year. Isiah enjoys the distinction of being the only superstar to lead his team to playoff series victories against Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. That is a rare distinction, but then again, Thomas’ combination of skills, toughness and determination, make him a rare breed and one of a kind.