Skip to main content

"It's open gym" — Isaiah Thomas breaks down why the game is easier in 2022 than in 2017

Former Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas compared today's NBA game to an open-gym session.
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas last stepped on an NBA court in the 2021-22 NBA season, donning the Charlotte Hornets jersey. He hasn’t found a new team yet but is keeping tabs on how the game develops. And according to him, the game is much easier today than it was just five years ago.

No disrespect

Thomas hasn’t retired from basketball. As such, the former Boston Celtics guard has been diligently tuning in to every NBA game. And he can’t help but compare today’s basketball to his peak in 2017. He doesn’t mean any disrespect to the current players of today. But for IT, the game requires lesser effort today.

My game is the same but my mind is so much further than it was in 2017. So I’m just picking the game apart. I’m seeing it really before it happens. It’s so slow. [The game is] way easier. And that’s no disrespect to the players in it. The game is as easy as ever been in 2022, right now. And that’s no disrespect to the talent,” Thomas said on the Ball Don’t Stop Podcast.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

We’ve all heard that phrase before. When young player transitions to become a superstar, the game slows down for him. This means that he sees every little detail and nuance as it happens. His decision-making becomes crisper and cleaner.

Open gym

The two-time All-Star explained his rather controversial take. He compared an NBA game to an open gym. From his point of view, players play 1-on-1 with each other. This makes it easier to score, especially for the best players in the world.

It’s how the game is played. Spacing. It’s open gym. It’s 5-on-5. It’s AAU Nationals. And I’m saying this with the most respect for the best players in the world. When the best players in the world are able to play 1-on-1, it’s unstoppable. That’s all we’re seeing,” Thomas said.

While some players would disagree with Thomas, his argument is backed up by numbers. Back in the 2016-17 NBA season, teams dropped 105.6 points per game. Today, the current average is pegged at 112.7 points per game. A look at the numbers before reveals that teams are dropping at least 110 points per game, making this era one of the highest-scoring eras in basketball.

Whether you agree with IT or not, it’s a good point of reflection. The game is rapidly evolving right before our eyes. Are high-scoring games a good thing for the game? Will they inspire kids to work on the offensive craft more and disregard their defensive chops? Does the NBA need to be wary of the points that Thomas raised?

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson’s epic retort to Kobe Bryant’s loathing for the “boring” and “so simple” triangle offense

The Zen Master laid out the key benefits of the triangle offense in terms of player health and wellness.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and guard Ron Harper

"I'd have one or two of your six rings" — Ron Harper claims the Cavaliers would've stopped Michael Jordan's first three-peat

Years before he joined Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, Ron Harper was a member of the up-and-coming Cleveland Cavaliers squad.

Max Strus

Max Strus shares why the Miami Heat will bounce back this season after a disappointing start - "We have two young guys that are turning the corner of being superstars"

Strus breaks down why the Miami Heat will bounce back this season while giving high praise to Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd explains why he isn’t too concerned with the Dallas Mavericks' slow start to the season

Kidd believes that the Mavs are figuring things out slowly but surely, and ensured fans that they won't be winning any awards for the first 20 games of the season

Charles Barkley & Erik Spoelstra

Charles Barkley believes it's time for the Miami Heat to break the team up and start over

Barkley pondered whether or not it was time for the Heat to start from scratch amid their 11-14 run in the first 25 games of the season

Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson

“It looked like me and Shaq had a baby” — when Chuck had Shaq dying laughing with his Zion comment

One year later, Zion proved he's put in the work and is leading the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant and Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas

"It was intelligent trash talking, when you played him you’re playing a mental war" — Gilbert Arenas shares his experience trash-talking Kobe Bryant

Former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas outlines what it was like to receive trash-talking from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.