It took a long time for Isaiah Thomas to get back to full health following his hip surgery a year ago. While he may be 100 percent physically for the Wizards, it's taking time for him to find his groove within the game.
Great players don't just wake up with an elite feel and natural instinct for the game. That's developed over time by playing in game after game against the best players in the world. When players miss as much time as Thomas has, it doesn't come back to them all at once.
That means good games at times, like Thomas had against Boston a few weeks ago (18 pts 7-14 FG), and that also means some rough outings like Tuesday night in Denver (3 pts, 1-8 FG).
“One of the worst games I played, for sure, individually," Thomas said after the game.
He's spot on with his assessment. According to StatMuse, Thomas had an effective field goal percentage of 12.5 percent, marking the second-worst shooting performance of his career to date. With the way he's tailored his game to the perimeter more this season, he'll need to hit his jumpers and get his teammates involved to counteract his defensive shortcomings.
"Physically I'm good," Thomas said. "The game man, it's going to take me a while to get my actual feel and rhythm back. Some games, I play really good, some games like tonight I just don't have it. But the feel, that's the last part of it coming together for me."
Gordon Hayward experienced a similar journey last season in Boston. after missing a full season with a fractured ankle, Hayward struggled with consistency throughout the year he returned. Once he got his confidence and feel back this season, he started playing the best basketball of his career.
Unfortunately, another injury will keep him out another few weeks, but Thomas can look to Hayward as a barometer for his road back to stardom.
Thomas and the Wizards won't have to wait to get back on track. They visit the Suns on the second leg of a back-to-back, and if they're going to get a win out of this road trip, it might have to be Wednesday with their next two coming against the Lakers and Clippers.
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