Old heads like to entertain the thought of how they'd fare in another era. Watching a game for them will never be just entertainment. They cannot help but dissect the game as a professional baller would, and wonder if they could stay on the court.
Isiah Thomas in today's NBA
Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas is the latest old head to explain how he'd hold up in this era of NBA basketball. Zeke's well-aware of how offenses have the 3-pointer deep in their playbooks. Despite not being a 3-point marksman during his career, Thomas is confident he would thrive in today's NBA.
"Would I have been able to make 3-point shots? Of course. In this era, would I have been able to get to the basket? Of course. What type of team would I be on? That would be different. The way I won in the 80s, you know, we would need a little bit more skill level from our power forward position," Thomas said via Kevin Durant's ">The ETCs podcast.
Thomas averaged 1.4 3-pointers per game on 29% shooting in his 12-year NBA career. In the postseason, he drained 0.7 3-pointers per game on 34.6%shooting. His best 3-point shooting playoff performance was in 1990 where the Pistons won their second straight title. The 12-time All-Star knocked down a total of 32 3-pointers on 47.1% across 20 games. These numbers support Thomas' claims very well.
Defending at the 3-point line
Shooting from beyond the arc is one thing; defending there is another art form. And Thomas is also confident that he has the defensive aspect covered.
"I'm saying as a defensive guard at the 3-point line, would I be able to guard and defend out on the perimeter? I've made my living doing that. If I'm saying if I can win in that era, I could win in this one."
Isiah Thomas, ">e ETCs podcast
Again, Thomas is not bluffing. It's not a scenario of an old head secretly being jealous of the present era. While Thomas was never selected into the All-Defensive Teams, he was a member of the Bad Boys — a team defined by their defensive physicality. Bigger players would definitely have the advantage over the 6-foot-1 Thomas.
But give Thomas a good coach with capable players, then he'll know just what to do. Like any other great defender, Thomas would never miss a rotation, closeout on his man, and utilize his good hands to steal the ball. Certain things age like old wine, and understanding how to play defense is one of them.